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A reader of this blog who goes by the name “J” sent the message below after reading my article How to Become a Magician in Five days:

Dear Sir Leodini

Sir, at what age did you start learning magic? I’m 23 and have just started. I know most magicians start at a young age. Do you think, with constant practice, I can still become great in 2-3 years? I’m currently practicing card flourishes and few card tricks.

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Dear J,

I started performing magic when I was in grade three (I was nine then).

I lived and grew up in the province, so there were no magic stores (brick-and-mortar or online) to buy supplies from.

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Living in that Jurassic era of magic, I had no books, no videos, no YouTube to teach me moves, techniques and theories in performing.

I didn’t have any contact with another performing magician, except for my uncle who knew only two card tricks. He was my first teacher, but there was not much he could teach me.

So I learned all by myself by researching the subject of magic in public libraries. While kids my age played rubber bands or became lunatics sniffing around the scent of their crushes, I spent time in libraries digging for what little information there was about magic.

I had my first magic book when I was in fourth year high school, the second book when I was in first year college, and my third book when I was in third year. These were hard-to-find books. No mainstream bookstore sold them. But because of my dogged persistence and pestering of people who had the littlest information about magic, I found these books anyway.

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These three books nurtured me through the years. It taught me enough knowledge to allow me to perform in public during birthdays, fiestas, and in the streets of Cebu City, long before David Blaine popularized street magic.

To say that my growth as a performer was slow could be the understatement of the millennium. It was painstakingly slow, because I had no access to educational material and magic props. But over the years, my single-minded purpose to learn and become good carried me from one stage to another in my development as a performer, slow and painful though it may be.

Today, students of magic are luckier. With the advent of the Internet, learning magic is now a cinch. One can buy instructional materials (in video or ebook format) that they can download and study right away.

They need magic props? Not to worry. Whether the need is for a thumb tip or for a large illusion, a click of the order form on an online magic shop will ship his merchandise to him within 24 hours.

In short, if one has the money, time and determination, learning magic today is easier than learning it during my time. I didn’t have money then (I still don’t have now), but I had time and determination. I learned the art even without the Internet.

With today’s information explosion and glut of educational material, contemporary students of magic don’t have the excuse not to learn magic and learn it quickly.

Can you become great in two to three years?

I can’t answer that for you. Becoming great depends on many variables. It depends on your focus and determination. It depends on how much effort you will want to apply to your endeavor. It depends on how much time you will want to allocate to your study, practice and rehearsal. It depends on how much money you will want to invest in your education.

You see, the technology of the world is waiting to give you the tools for learning. But you have to mine an unyielding determination from the depths of your guts to goad you continuously toward your goal of becoming great.

That’s something the online magic shops, with all their ready-to-ship magic merchandise, books and videos, can’t do for you.

You have to do it yourself, just like the way I did it eons ago.

I was lucky to have realized early in life that something worthwhile to learn and master as magic was worth my while to learn and master. And when I did, it sure felt like magic.

Best of luck and stay magical,

Leodini

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