At the date of this testimony, I have been a magician for 7 months now. It is certainly a short time compared to many others. But please be aware that this is my passion and I have talked with other professional magicians and they have commended my abilities for the time it has taken me to date.
At the beginning, I had extreme anxiety problems. Before even taking up magic, I could not even speak in public without having a panic attack (losing breath, shaking, sweating, nearly fainting).
So this is part of the reason I took up magic - mainly because I have a passion the art, and to give me opportunities to perform in public and conquer my fear.
If you take the time to read this testimony of mine, it may help anyone with nervousness while performing their magic.
The first few times I performed my magic effects was in front of my closest friends, maybe 3 or 4 at a time, and this would be a daunting task alone. I kept this up for a couple more months, but the pressure eased a bit every time. The little audiences began getting a little bigger up to 10 at a time. I was still nervous though, because the past would try and haunt me.
Now getting 4 months into magic, I was well practiced up on about 5 of my effects. I technically had them down to the point it was second nature. I had my first ever public gig for a friends 21st birthday. I was so scared to get up in front of the 50-60 people, but I did it. With a pounding heartbeat, I spoke up and projected my voice properly, and started my routines. Because I was so confident with my technical ability in my effects, I gradually became at ease. The show lasted about 7 or 8 minutes, 5 effects were performed superbly, and the applause was fantastic. This was the beginning of my confidence boosts.
Then I began performing small public shows for a church based cafeteria. Just two tricks at a time amongst their own program - which also gave me experience. I was still getting the nervousness pretty badly, but there were no more anxiety attacks.
Since the Christmas season began (early December), I had been asked to do another two 21st birthday parties. I was quite hesitant but decided not to back out and just go for it. I had 3 weeks to practice heavily for this next 21st birthday, and the time came to perform. There were 80+ people in the audience. I was nervous, but confident. The show went fantastic and the confidence skyrocketed. People were beginning to use my name in their households and the news would come back to me during the following weeks.
Just before Christmas a local professional country band asked me to perform for their audience of about 50 people during their intermission break. It all went very well and most people seemed more excited about my magic than the music itself. Afterall, magic is an exciting art, and music is something to be appreciated - not exciting.
New years I went to the Gold Coast (holiday spot in Australia) and on the beach, I performed closeup magic for the police on duty and some people in public. I would go to shops and if they weren't busy, I would perform a trick or 2 for them. This is all great experience, and this boosted my confidence some more.
The last gig I did was the 14th of January for another friends 21st. I had no nervousness and I was pumped to show my talent. I went through 12 effects in 20 minutes and my show was very smooth.
The whole message of my testimony is defined in 3 words:
There may be people who could add more to this, but this is my personal experience. Now along the way, I stuffed up a few times due to the nervousness. This was more like the beginning, but I luckily haven't made any big boo-boo's since (I am sure I will, and I will allow this to happen - nobody is perfect). This adds to the experience side of things.
Usually perfectionists are the nervous ones I believe. I find myself a big perfectionist, and I feel if I fail to meet my "perfect" target, I will fail myself and others. So the nerves kick in. So by referring to my 3 words above, tackle the nervousness problem this way.
And to close off, I am far, far away from the quality that I see in professional magicians. One day I will make it though. I still lack in patter and stage professionalism because 7 months simply isn't enough time to be good at it. These are my goals to step up this professionalism which may take years.
All the best to those who heed this advice,