Where do Professional Magicians Learn their Tricks?

As magic tricks have historically been shrouded in secrecy, many people often wonder how professional magicians like Dynamo or Michael Carbonaro learn to do magic tricks?

David Copperfield

While there are some unique offerings like The College of Magic in South Africa or Jeff McBride’s Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas, there is unfortunately no true “Magic School” like Hogwarts where magicians go to learn magic tricks (although that would be awesome!)

In fact, most professional magicians hone their craft independently with magic books, DVDs, magic downloads and a variety of other resources that we’re going to take a closer look at right now.

Getting Started in Magic

Whether their uncle pulled a quarter from their ear or they received a Marvin’s Magic Set filled with beginner magic tricks for their birthday, nearly every magician can recall the moment they fell in love with magic.

What happens AFTER they’re bitten by the magic bug though?

For most professional magicians, their magic journey begins in section 793.8 of their local library. Here, you can typically find great beginner magic books like Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic or Joshua Jay’s MAGIC: The Complete Course that are filled with a variety of easy magic tricks from card tricks to coin tricks, close up magic, rope magic and even ways to create illusions.

Magic Stores

While libraries are great for anyone just getting into magic, those who want to pursue it as a serious hobby, or even a career, will eventually need to start shopping at magic stores.

Just like any other retailer, there are brick & mortar magic stores filled with everything a magician might need from magic tricks to decks of cards, magic books, videos and more. For a magician, this is the closest we can get to truly living a life like Harry Potter.

However, these physical stores are unfortunately becoming increasingly difficult to find making it harder to get in person advice and to learn about new tricks, especially if you don’t live near a big city like New York City or Los Angeles. Thankfully, online magic stores have stepped in to fill the need. A good online magic store like Vanishing Inc. offers the wide range of products, fast worldwide shipping and knowledgeable customer service a professional magician needs. Read about the history of Vanishing Inc..

Now that we know where magicians shop, let’s discuss what they buy.

Magic Books

Despite living in a world run by smart phones and other smart technology, magic books and magic e-books continue to be one of the most popular ways to learn magic effects. Magic books allow you to progress at your own pace and often contain an immense amount of important details and nuances.

Most professional magicians are lifelong scholars. Walk into a magician’s home and you’re likely to find a vast personal library of books covering all types of magic from easy card tricks to complex illusions.

In fact, the library of congress currently holds Harry Houdini’s personal collection of approximately 4000 books on magic and spiritualism.

Want to know what books are most commonly found on the shelves of professional magicians? Check out the 10 Magic Books Every Magician Should Read.

Magic DVDs and Downloads

As technology has evolved, so have magic tricks and the ways magicians learn them. After VHS tapes introduced the ability to easily learn magic tricks on video, the industry eventually shifted with the times to DVDs and now instant magic downloads.

Unlike magic books, which sometimes have few or no illustrations, magic videos allow magicians to see a move or trick in action. They can even pause and rewind at any point to ensure they fully understand everything they’re watching.

While tutorial videos have truly revolutionized how professional magicians consume magic, some argue that it’s also encouraged magicians to become copycats. Instead of taking the time to modify a trick to match their style, some magicians have simply mirrored what they see on screen.

Magic Lectures

Speaking of learning from other magicians, magic shops, or local affiliates of magic clubs like the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians will often host lectures from some of the biggest names in magic.

Typically reserved for magicians only, these special sessions feature professional magicians sharing exclusive magic tricks and magic theory. They also offer an opportunity to ask questions or get clarification on a particular effect directly from the creator.

While nothing can beat the experience of seeing a magic lecture in person, many online magic stores also offer convenient alternatives. For example, Vanishing Inc. recently launched its Vanishing Inc. Masterclass: Live series which features a world-class magician performing 3 different live online lectures a month followed by a dedicated Q&A session.

Attend Magic Conventions

Throughout the year, there are also a variety of special magic conventions like Magifest or The Session where magicians go and learn about the [latest magic tricks](LINK:New magic tricks) and attend a variety of lectures and unique workshops.


Magic lectures, magic shops, magic clubs and magic conventions are also all fantastic places to meet a potential mentor. Nearly every professional magician has worked with a mentor at some point during their career.

While many magicians are mostly self-taught, there is only so much you can process on your own. If you read a book on quantum physics front to back, you don’t automatically become an expert quantum physicist. The same is true with magic.

A magic mentor is someone who uses their real-world experience to help you better comprehend and apply the concepts you learn to your own magic. Someone who can offer a different perspective and identify the barriers preventing a professional magician from reaching their full potential.

Magic Consultants

Along the same lines of a mentor, every professional magician is also typically supported by a great team of close friends and magic consultants. From bouncing ideas to building props or just being a support system, it’s these groups of individuals that help professional magicians like Justin Willman and Michael Carbonaro create the amazing magic tricks you see on Magic for Humans and The Carbonaro Effect.

Practice Never Stops

And last, but certainly not least, one of the most important things to understand about magic is that it is a fluid art form. Professional magicians are constantly tweaking and refining their tricks to ensure they create the ultimate possible impact. As a result, the practice and rehearsals never stop. Any professional magician who thinks they can ride a wave of success without trying to improve, will not be a professional for long.

Learn Magic like a Professional Magician for Free

Did this article make you eager to jump into the exciting world of magic? We want to help! Check out our completely free 10x10 beginner card magic download taught by professional magician R. Paul Wilson to learn some fundamental card sleights and easy card tricks.

Get your Free Card Magic Download