Practice to perfection.

April 4th, 2012 | Team Ellusionist | Filed Under General

I wrote this post because I wanted to share some of my practice regiment. These are some of the steps I take in order to accomplish my goal when performing. I hope that you can take something out of this and apply it to your magic.

-Xavior Spade

Magic is something that is more than just a hobby to me. It is a way of life. I constantly strive for perfection. I work constantly to improve, not just my technical skill but my performance as well. It takes much more than just practicing in front of a mirror.

Step 1

When I first decide I’m going to practice something the first thing I do is make sure that I understand the details of what I’m doing. I read, re-read, or watch and re-watch and try to follow along.

Sometimes I get frustrated as we all do. At that point it’s time to stop and take a breather. Once you get frustrated it becomes hard to retain information because instead of paying attention to what you’re doing you feel like ripping apart your book or destroying your cards.

Don’t let the anger take control of you.

Take a step back and take your mind off of it. You’d be surprised how much you actually learned when you decide to go back to practicing.

Step 2

Now that I’ve gotten the moves down it’s time to stop looking and practice again. When you first practice it’s ok to look at your hands. However when performing if you’re looking at your hands it’s not a good sign. It will tell your spectators that you’re doing something. If you have to look at your hands to do a move chances are that you don’t know it well enough.

Everything you do in your performance should be “automatic“.  You shouldn’t have to think about your next action. So after I feel that I’ve gotten the “tech” side of the trick pretty much down, I begin to think about how I’m going to “deliver” the trick. What meaning am I going to put to the effect or vice versa. Just doing a trick is just doing a trick. I’m a professional magician and because of that I don’t just do tricks. I perform miracles. I want people to walk away with something they’ve never experienced before.

I NEVER want to hear the words “That was a nice trick!”

Now comes what I consider to be the most important part of practice. Practice performance. This is the part that I feel SO many magicians leave out. They go from practice in the private straight to the show! There’s no rehearsing or practicing or figuring out if it’s even good for a show.

I can always tell when a magician has really practiced and rehearsed his routine because he has more to say then “Ok so we put your card in the middle. And now it’s on top.”

To me the difference between a trick and routine is how “complete” it is. Is there purpose to what you are doing? Have you taken away possible solutions to the effect? How engaging is it?

There are countless effects that are beautiful to us, but are just too confusing to a lay person. Is this effect one of them?

In my professional set I do mentalism. Mentalism in practice is technically much easier than a lot of magic because there’s almost no slight of hand. The true art to mentalism is routining and scripting. However it is just as important to EVERY type of magic.

Step 3

The real world.

Just because you’ve gotten the trick down and you think it’s up to par doesn’t mean that it’s quite ready. This is the point that I take my practiced routines and do them for real people and use the experience to tweak the routine future. I try to pay attention to what the spectators are looking at and when to help me develop better misdirection and to see what if what I’m saying is helping to generate the reactions I’m looking for. It can take me up to 6 months before I decide to put a routine into my working set.

Don’t take shortcuts, don’t settle for anything but what you want. Being the best takes time.

Below are a few videos. Both of the same trick. One is a video of what I believe is a complete routine and one is not. Watch them both and tell me what you think. Also share your practicing tips.


This is Tommy Wonder who to this day has one of my favorite Ambitious Card Routines.

This is an ambitious card routine that need some work

-Xavior Spade


  1. The first vid was pretty simpel tricks in the begining but in the end
    wtf dude. I practice alot I usally watch the trick a few times bout
    5-6 times to see everything to just listen and see all moves than I practice while he’s doing tutorial very slowly in very low speed than I remember the trick train it for about 2-7days atleast than I practice in front of a mirror to see if I do a move very obvious, when I’m done with that and everything is cool I do it for friends, parents
    etc. and if I get good reactions there I preform it at partys etc. and
    than put it into my routines and I telling you while preforming on partys and such things I got alot of great ideas it helped me alot.

  2. Xavior Spade on:

    It’s amazing how much you learn while performing in real life situations! Thanks for your comment JokerZingo

  3. James Raymond on:

    The second video clearly shows that practice is needed. I like in the first video near the end how he gets the audience to pay attention to the card and shows that it’s the signed card. Misdirection at it’s best right there.

    As far as my practice…I feel I need to do more at home studying the “moves” but also really need to perform more for real people. This is where the nerves come in to play and mess up everything that you could do in your room at home so well.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts…

  4. Wow what a difference in how the same idea can be good and bad. loved the first vid. Recently i’ve been trying to expand my tricks more with more presentation and that was a great one. Practice wise i focus my attention on one trick. i watch over and over to get the basic handling down because if it’s not right the first time that’s it. it will most likely never be correct. I then practice and practice any chance i get until it’s fluid and i don’t even think about it. once i do this i will than rewatch the tutorial again to pick up on any subtleties. A move is never perfect. there is always something to gain again. I can prove this from personal experience. i know you here it over and over but practice, practice, practice is the key and it’s best to view something over and over. Eventually you will get it and it will be great.

    In the end though i agree with everyone else. you can study and study and practice and practice but once you get out in the real world it’s a whole new ball of wax. Nerves do kick in and something you could practice for months will mean no difference at all. in the end one needs to remember…most likely the audience has never seen what you are doing so they don’t know what it looks like.

  5. Xavior Spade on:

    You are so right Josh. Thanks for commenting and sharing what you do with all of us!

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  7. The first video is beautiful!
    The way he works the audience goes so well with his routine :)

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  10. hello xavier. i need a tips on how you gonna perform the magic such as the card trick in front of the big mouth spectators. some of them keep asking “why you do that? why you do this”. .thats make me feel, urghhh. i am a new learner in this art.

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