A Practice Hack

By Andi Gladwin - Wednesday, March 4, 2020

I love to practice magic; at times it can be almost meditative as I sit at my card table (often late at night) with nothing but a deck of cards, and a mirror in front of me. I wrote at length about how I practice magic in my Astonishing Essay, but here I'd like to share a new process that I have been using lately to decide what I want to work on. It's a simple idea that makes use of my trusty notebook (which, for me, is an app called Evernote).

Magic practice hack

When reading a magic book, I start a new note called "Things to Practice from [Book name]." Then, as I find tricks or moves that I'd like to remember to practice, I write down the name of the trick, followed by the page number. I then add a bulleted list of any important notes that I need to remember during the practice session. This could be the setup of the trick, a particular observation or finesse that I feel that is important to recall as I practice the move.

This does two things: it helps me practice with purpose (which itself is much more rewarding), and allows me to remember items from books that I would typically forgot shortly after I read it. If I'm ever unsure of what to practice that evening, I can open up my notes, find an item and start working on it. If I have forgotten anything in particular, I can just grab the book and refresh my mind.

This has been especially useful as I have worked through sleight intensive books such as the new Steve Forte and Tom Gagnon books. Without this technique, I would have likely tried out the techniques and then immediately forgotten the details. The process will likely evolve over time, and if it does, I'll be sure to update you.

Andi Gladwin on practice

Reader comments:


Thursday, 05 March 2020 01:54 AM - Reply to this comment

Andi, I LOVE the Forte books, but find them frustrating as tools for learning as many or even most of the explanations are written in a jargon far more familiar to card mechanics than to magicians. I am forced into educated, yet perhaps imprecise, guesses concerning the meaning of such expressions as "carrying the slug," "base throws," "base strips," "laying a brief" and the like. Perhaps this terminology is all explained in the course of reading the books cover to cover, beginning to end, but this approach makes these tomes difficult to access for reference. A glossary, at the very least, would have helped.


Thursday, 05 March 2020 20:18 PM - Reply to this comment

Thank you for sharing this Andi, I think this a huge help tome. I have been trying to come up with a way to routine and practice pieces when reading books. This is a great way to do so! Thank you for sharing! Maybe turn it into a series about practice? Lol


Friday, 06 March 2020 15:56 PM - Reply to this comment

Andi, I'd love to hear how you use Evernote as your notebook. I'm struggling myself because electronic note taking is convenient, but becomes unwieldy and isn't as user friendly for review and looking back on for inspiration. And while a notebook is easier to go back through and peruse casually, it's not as easy to enter information into as a phone/computer, and it can be challenging to go back and find what you're looking for. Any tips would be welcome and much appreciated!


Friday, 06 March 2020 19:47 PM

Hi James. Sure! I write at length about this in my Astonishing Essay, but will try to share some other ideas in future blog posts! I'm a big fan of using Evernote.

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