Sorry, guys. I posted this on another forum about a month ago and neglected to put it here:
Mentorship. In the past, you couldn't really learn magic without a mentor. Mentors have practically disappeared in the last decade. I never had one, but then you look at some of the top magicians now and they can tell you all about their mentors. My friend, Casey, and I will sit and listen to guys with much more experience tell us about their mentors. There’s nothing quite like listening to those experiences, but that’s a form of mentorship. Mentors seem to have been all but abolished with the introduction of DVDs.
DVDs are a great tool to help younger magicians learn. They can pause, rewind, and slow-mo anything they want to learn. At the same time, they give people the option to watch a video, learn the trick, film themselves doing it, and posting it online. This results in very badly done videos and videos that border on exposure. Mentorship really takes care of this. A good mentor will make you perform the effect over and over for them and it’s almost perfected by the time they let you stop. The other benefit is that you can have them break down individual pieces from different angles and ask questions about how something works. You can’t question a video, so if you don’t really understand a move the DVD wants to explain, you’re out of luck.
On the other hand, mentorship takes time and patience on the part of both people involved. You can watch a DVD any time you’d like. You don’t get the luxury with mentors. I feel the mentorship still has the main advantage of you not getting in over your head. The mentor will tailor the lessons to you. That’s the way I handle private lessons. I have to tailor them to the person they’re being given too. I’m not going to teach Three Fly to a beginning magician. Mentors are the same way. That does bring up an interesting point. When do mentorship, lessons, and sessioning start to differ? Really, they shouldn’t differ much. Lessons involve making people earn their instruction by having them pay. Mentorship is similar, but without the pay. Sessioning is a mentorship with no mentor. That’s how I view my sessions.
As I’ve said, I never really had an official mentor. I’ve had guys with lifetimes more experience sit back and talk to me about their experiences, but not really mentorship. I have also had people that have almost mentored under me, but not quite. It’s really interesting to think about it in that type of context. One thing I will say about mentoring people, they have to earn it. They really do. There’s no way around it. For me to decide to mentor someone, they would have to prove that they are serious about learning. If they’re not, it wouldn’t be worth either of our time.
I highly recommend to any young magician find someone that’s willing to mentor you. It’s a very rewarding experience for all parties involved. It’s similar to the reason that guys like me write these columns and articles. It helps bring back experiences and knowledge that we may have forgotten. Imagine, if no one was willing to mentor people, magicians like Michael Ammar, Dave Solomon, and even Harry Houdini never would have been who they are.
Last edited by exodus on Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:41 am, edited 2 times in total.