The inner workings of magic is not the science behind how a trick is accomplished, but the hidden effect it has on the person performing it. Most of us get into magic as children. Someone buys us a magic kit and the rest is history. This is the typical story most of us tell. But many of us do not realize the incredible benefits that magic bestows upon us at an early age.
Of the many physiological aspects hand-eye coordination comes to mind first. This refers to the control of eye movement and the processing of visual input to guide bodily movement. This has been studied in activities as diverse as tea making, the movement of solid objects such as wooden blocks, sporting performance, music reading, and copy-typing. Basic sleight of hand as simple as the French Drop aids us in developing the motor skills essential for life at an early age.
The Multiplying Sponge Balls is perhaps the finest example of a magic trick that encompasses every facet of hand-eye coordination. Digital dexterity is learned by manipulating the sponge balls between the fingers. Focusing your point of vision on what is taking place at your fingertips causes the audience members to watch what you watch. Of course changing your focal point will have them look elsewhere. Sometimes we do this to direct their attention away from a main area so we can do something sneaky in that main area. While most of us do not realize it, we’re learning to develop hand-eye coordination.
Learning magic at an early age teaches most of us how to verbalize our thoughts, something most adults cannot do well. Public speaking scares most people I know. As we learn about patter when presenting a magic trick, we learn to speak in front of groups of people. Besides learning to enchant our audiences, we learn to engage them by speaking to them. This is essential for leadership and management qualities that make you stand out above the rest.
Many years ago, David Copperfield developed a concept called Project Magic. Project Magic is a program designed to give the gift of magic to people with various physical, psycho-social and developmental disabilities. People of both sexes and every age, regardless of their handicap, can successfully become involved in the program. It is of benefit to people with a variety of diagnoses, such as those with arthritis, spinal cord injury, brain injury, drug and alcohol abuse, chronic pain and learning disabilities.
Those of us serious about our craft realize that there is a definite psychology involved with audience management. We learn the body talk of a potential volunteer. After a moment with a group of people you instantly know which person will work best with you and which person you will avoid. We essentially learn to read a person in an inordinate amount of time. We learn the act of deception with words. We learn how to work emotions to gain a particular reaction.
Reading comprehension skills are honed by learning to interpret instruction manuals, most of which are poorly written, which brings me to another trait. Creativity. After instructions are understood your creative side comes into play and works out an original presentation of the effect…or at least it should.
The point and reason of this article is to understand that for the serious student of magic there’s quite a bit more to this art than meets the eye. For spouses and people that just assume it’s a silly little hobby, it’s really far more than that. I will leave it to you to use your magical skills to determine what more than that really is!