In an accelerated learning course, it’s possible for the magic student to get from beginner level to the base of lower-intermediate (e.g., ACR, Elmsley Count, Half Pass) in a dozen lessons. This mean that they will be capable of doing the effects and techniques competently. (Most people take a lot longer than this.)
Doing magic confidently and entertainingly, however, is another matter. Because certain fundamentals of learning only take place ‘in the field’, the lessons themselves only ever take the student half way. The other half comes from trying out the tricks live, failing or succeeding, logging how and why the failures and successes happened, and keeping on until the failures represent nothing more than minor, unforeseeable glitches which even an expert magician will likely face.
Smelling the roses
During an accelerated journey along the royal road, going off on tangents and ‘stopping to smell the roses’ can very often feed back into the main course in unexpected ways, as well as keeping one’s interest fresh. Learning a coin trick, for example, can help with performing card magic in ways which are not immediately apparent (e.g., palming a coin and doing various tricks could help build confidence in palming cards).
Magically speaking, all roads lead to Rome; the basic principles of magic are the same no matter which area one is studying.
Some of these tangents may be irrelevant or misleading at certain points – there is no point in trying to learn two versions of the same sleight, say, if they both hinder each other’s practice. But something unrelated is probably harmless and possibly even helpful. Because magic learning is not as linear as in other fields, tangents are not as well defined and may not be tangents in reality. Magically speaking, all roads lead to Rome; the basic principles of magic – illusion, presentation, misdirection, interaction, etc. – are the same no matter which area one is studying.
All magic is the same
To the complete beginner, all magic is the same – beginners ask on web forums the innocent-sounding question, ‘How do magicians do their tricks?’ In the learning of magic it all gets split up into separate fields, with sub-categories and sub-sub categories. But at a certain point – especially if one has learned a number of different disciplines in magic – it all starts to come back together again. Coming back around the circle, it all becomes, once again, just magic.