FOUR POINTS: Pursuits of magic, music have much in common

April 4th, 2014 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under Four Points

We’ve met so many magicians, illusionists, sleight-of-hand artists and other performers that we’ve lost count of the times we’ve lost count. Some of them have successful magic careers, some just love performing. All of them are incredible.

And we can’t help but notice all the things that they have in common: They are largely outgoing, have no problem talking to anyone anytime, are creative and so much more.

One of the less common things we’ve seen that magicians have in common is a deep connection to music. Not every magician might know an arpeggio from an allegretto, but most seem to have a strong sense of rhythm and tone. Whether they choose music for a show or play music on their own, magicians just have an ear for music.

It got us thinking exactly what makes magicians and musicians mesh so closely.


For musicians, it’s reading music or tablature. For magicians, it’s reading a book or watching a video. The process is very similar — we go through the whole, get a feel for the piece then get down to specific details. Where a musician looks for subtle details such as accents or key changes, magicians pay attention to phalanges and fingernails. That also extends to the attention we pay our musical role models, mentors or inspirations. We become hyper-attentive, taking in much more information than usual, and send our brains into an analytical overdrive with the possibilities.


Playing an instrument takes years to master, just like magic. Both music and magic inspire deeper learning, however. Like a musician will dive into a new tonal technique, magicians discover new sleights. And a big component of study is practice. And when it comes to practice, magicians and musicians are cut from the same cloth, more than any other artist. Practice becomes its own pursuit — for musicians, practicing alone and performing for a crowd are two different things, yet both are immensely satisfying.


As study and practice happens, as things are learned, both musicians and magicians immediately start to think of how they can apply what they learn to their own presentations. We see the skeleton of the technique, then we see different things we can add. We see magicians and musicians slowly find their artistic identities much the same way.


Also going back to study — the pool of techniques that musicians and magicians add to their skill sets is small, compared to the number of techniques available. That means there is always a fresh avenue to explore, and both types of artists love the thrill of that discovery.

FOUR POINTS is a regular feature that celebrates magicians’ favorite number by highlighting four critical bits of importance, awesomeness or otherwise. Send your suggestions to

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