Aaron Fisher “Personal Coaching” and “In Session”
Before I get into the details let me give you the Cliff Note
version of this. If you want to be a truly great card magician (mediocrity just isn’t good enough for you) and you don’t have access to a mentor then getting a lesson from Aaron Fisher will pay you dividends in the long run that no DVD, book, or gimmick will provide. I consider his lessons an excellent investment for any intermediate magician whose focus is cards and even for beginners who can afford it. Aaron Fisher is widely considered one of the best creators of sleight of hand magic and one of the best teachers in all of magic. You could spend 20 years struggling to master the craft of card magic and there is no guarantee that you ever will. Aaron Fisher lessons will help speed you through a lot of road bumps you will experience along the way to card mastery and while I cannot guarantee that it still won’t take you 20 years, if at all, I do believe that your chances of getting there are much better with him than without.This is a review for private skype lessons with magician Aaron Fisher. They are available through his own website directly, titled, “Personal Coaching,” or through Ellusionist, titled, “In Session.” I am reviewing both as they both boil down to a skype session with Aaron Fisher. I am personally taking lessons directly through Aaron so some of the sign up and log in details of the lessons available at Ellusionist are unknown to me but essentially I will assume that what you get in the end is essentially the same thing. The In Session Lessons are a little longer and cost more but if you add it up minute by minute both cost the same rate. You just need to decide if a full hour long lesson is worth the extra money.Where to buy and how much:Personal Coaching:
45 mn./ $75.00 http://www.aaronfishermagic.com/coaching.htmIn Session:
1 hour/$100 http://www.ellusionist.com/aaron-fisher.htmlSign up process(reviewed for Personal Coaching only):
1st you will need Skype and a decent webcam and microphone. I recommend a headset style microphone and an external Webcam. The headset will reduce back ground noise during your session and the external webcam will be easier to adjust to get video of various angles during the session. Double check all your gear before you get to your lesson….it will save you time. Next go to the Personal Coaching link I provided above. There is a banner near the bottom of that page that says “Start Your lessons Now.” Click that and you will be sent to a page that instructs you from there. The very bottom of that page is a link(on the word NOW) that will send you to a page where you can either log in(for returning students) or sign up.
For first timers signing up, don’t just rush through the student profile stuff. There are several questions on there about what your goals are and what your magical influences are. He really does read that stuff and I am sure it will help him speed up the “get to know you” process that a student and teacher go through. That will in turn speed up your first lesson so that even that initial lesson will be as productive as possible.
Once you have created a profile you have access to the calendar which is where you see what times are available and select an available date or time for your lesson. The blue bars indicate reserved lessons and the white bars indicate available lessons. Clicking on an available lesson will send you to the lesson sign up pop-up screen. This screen will include the date and time specifics, a verification of your name, phone number, and skype name, and a field for you to type in specifics about what subject you want to work on. At the bottom of this pop-up is a tab where you can buy credit(via a paypal screen that will pop-up) or create the lesson if you have available credit on your account.
The sign up process is certainly more detailed and complicated than going to an online magic shop and buying the latest new magic DVD or gadget but it isn’t so difficult that most of you won’t be able to navigate it easy enough. If you have any difficulties with the process you can e-mail Aaron and I am sure he will be happy to help you out. Overall it is a good thing that there are quite a few steps you will need to go through in order to create a lesson because it forces you to really think about what you want out of a private lesson. That in turn gives Aaron the information he needs to make your lesson as valuable as possible.The First Lesson:
This is the hardest part to evaluate since each lesson is tailored to the student. My recommendation is that your first lesson is very specific and something pertinent to something you know Aaron could help out with. In my case I picked his effect “Panic,” as a starting point. It is his effect and an effect that I have had great success with but I was looking for ways of using it as a closer. I didn’t really care for WideSpread panic, the version he teaches in his DVD that introduces Panic in the middle or end of a routine. WS Panic is not a bad handling it just didn’t work for me. So within the very first lesson Aaron was able to give me a few quick pointers on the panic “move,” and offer a few different ideas on how to routine it for a closer. We were able to cover all that in about 30 mn wich gave up a good 15mn chat on where I would like to go from there. So my advice is to pick a first lesson similar in tone to what I did. Getting tips on an Aaron Fisher effect or move that you already perform (Gravity ½ pass, Search and Destroy, One handed Pop-out, ect.) Something that you suspect will give you a bit of free time to get to know each other. Certainly the long questionnaire you filled out when you signed up will give you a head start but nothing beats a face to face chat.Subsiquent Lessons:
Once you get past the first lesson this is where the real learning begins. I personally chose to work on my ACR. I, like many, always felt ACRs were to common so I had stayed away from them for a while, relegating them to routines I only did to practice new moves in sequence. Aaron really pointed out, and I agree with him now, that developing a good performance ACR is critical to the development of a good card magician. So my next several lessons were the redesign of one of my practice ACRs into something that would play nicely for an audience. We first started with the structure of the routine and would then work on specific moves as needed. In the course of the 5 lessons we covered many many specific moves that were required for the final ACR. When all was said and done I have an ACR that is well structured, direct, and plays very well to the lay audience. I am also much more proficient in several all of the moves required for the ACR. The best part of that is that my new proficiency in those moves really translates into all of my card magic because, as many of us know, the move you put into your ACR tend to be the workhorse moves you use in all of your card magic.Aaron Fisher as a teacher:
I think it goes without saying that Aaron Fisher has built a reputation as one of the best teachers in the industry. His DVDs are always well spoken and direct, his books and notes are clearly written, and he has been teaching the intermediate card classes at the Sorcerers Safari summer camps for the last several years. I’m happy to state that one on one, without a script to work off of, Aaron is just as good. One thing that may be of concern to some of us “older” students is that Aaron’s DVDs and videos are generally geared towards teaching the teen aged magician. That shouldn’t be a surprise as most DVDs and Videos these days are. What I can tell you is that Aaron will appeal to all ages of magicians. Aaron and I are approximately the same age and I never once felt he was talking down to me. Franky, if you are an adult expect him to treat you as an adult, if you are a kid, expect him to treat you accordingly. One way or the other he will not patronize you. He will probably be a great teacher for magicians much older than him as well. If you see Aaron Fisher’s stuff and can honestly say, “This guy is better than me,” which, considering the fact that he is one of the top card men in the world right now, most of you will, then have no worries about taking a lesson from him.Aaron’s knowledge base:
Aaron eats, sleeps, and breaths card magic. He has got to be one of the most well read and practiced card magicians in the world. What’s more is that his interests in study are much greater than the style in which he performs. For example, the ACR I worked on with him wound up being full of Lee Asher material(not by design…just how it all worked out.) Now I am a big Asher fan, I’ve studied about everything he has released, but Aaron was still able to help me with a lot of Asher sleights. So for instance, I use the Silver Surfer, It might not be Aaron Fisher’s move but he has studied it and he was able to give me some tips on it. Not only does he keep up with a lot of contemporary magic but he is very solidly versed in the classics. Especially Marlo and Vernon! I think he has probably read and studied everything those two ever wrote. Fisher is also a student of Erdnase(as is any Vernon fan). At one point we got side tracked in a lesson and started chit chatting about Gambling Demos and Aaron was even able to recommend some thoughts on those as well as some books and DVDs that might help me in that facet of card magic. In short, he is knowledgeable enough and humble enough to help you with magic regardless of your style. He won’t simply steer the lesson to his material or try to alter your style to be more like his. He finds out what your interest is and what your style is and makes you a better version of yourself, not an Aaron Fisher clone. Reread that last paragraph because that is exactly why I think he is the best teacher in magic today!Who Should Consider a Private Lesson From Aaron Fisher?
I’m not going to blow smoke up your you know what. These lessons are expensive, but then so are most private lessons. For an example, When I was living stateside there was a magic shop about an hour from my house. It was a great brick and mortar shop and they offered private lessons as well. Their private lessons went for $60.00 for a 45 mn lesson. Now those lessons had the benefit of being face to face but with video conferencing the lessons with Aaron are practically face to face. Add to that the fact that you are getting a private lesson from one of the world’s best card men and I think you can see the added cost is certainly justified, in fact it is kind of a steal! Beginners:
If you can afford it I’m sure you would get an excellent foundation in card magic and you would avoid many of the traps that a lot of us fall into as we struggle to go from beginner to intermediate. That said, the truth is that unless you are pretty well off you may be better off falling into those traps on your own and struggling your own way out.Intermediates:
This is where these lessons really become valuable. Any magician will probably agree that the learning curve in magic is kind of exponential. Most people with the aid of some books, DVDs, and free advice from friends, can go from beginner to intermediate in a year or two but getting from intermediate to expert might take a lifetime, and many of us never get there! There is a totally different mindset in going on when you decide you want to perform world class card magic. That is where these lessons become a great dollar value. If you don’t have access to a mentor who can get you to the level you want to get to (because like me you don’t live any where near a lively magic community, or perhaps you do but the people in your club just are not that good) then these online lessons with a teacher like Aaron is invaluable. Indeed I really can’t put a price tag on what I have learned. To use a pejorative, Aaron took a “move monkey” and has started to transform me into a “card man.”Experts:
….Hrmmmm…..Well I’m not sure if I would recommend this to someone like Jamy Ian Swiss, or even Lee Asher but I am sure they could even learn a thing or two from Aaron….It’s just that at their level they could probably just learn from him the old fashioned way. Meet him at a convention, buy him a drink, liquor him up, and session.Final Verdict?*****
Five Stars! This is a fantastic way to learn magic. With one on one lessons you not only learn new magic but you build the foundations by which you will master it. To be sure, If you are going to spend this kind of money you really need to want to be excellent. If you want to be excellent you really need to find a mentor. When you look at many of the magicians who went on to greatness you will find that they all have stories of seeking out mentors. Dai Vernon’s famous quest for Allen Kennedy and the center deal is probably one of the most famous accounts but even today’s stars of magic have their own stories. Fisher’s own stories of seeking out Larry Jennings, Lee Asher’s (and Fisher’s btw) move to the Vegas magic scene and Allan Ackerman, Bill Malone and Ed Marlow. The list goes on. When you think of the expense and effort these guys went through to find a mentor you should all be so lucky that you live in a time where a mentor is just a skype call away.