The Performance with The Magician School
When I talk with schools about their clubs, oftentimes I hear the instructors/leaders focus so much on the structure of the program. This is fantastic! However, this means that the creative part for the students is often lost. Students learn by doing, so while the structure and teaching is important, it’s just as important to hold space for students to try out the activity on their own. In both The Magician School Program and The Balloon School Program we try to encourage this as much as we can. Here’s a few tips to help with this:
Practice, Practice, Practice
After the students have learned how to do the activity, now is the time to leave space for students to get their creative minds flowing. In order to do this, I recommend putting on some background music, having the students spread out and work on their activity. If your school is doing The Magician School Club, have the students practice the trick over and over again. After all Rule #3 of being a magician is to Practice. This is a good time for the instructor to walk around, watch the students perform, give any feedback/advice/encouragement and make sure the students are staying focused. With The Balloon School Club I recommend encouraging the students to practice twisting their balloon shape. Things to keep in mind while the students are practicing is that they are being safe, but trying to make their balloon animal proportionate, try making a big version and a small version.
Show and Tell: Set the Rules/Understanding
Before having the student show off their new balloon pal, or have students perform their newly learned feat of prestidigitation, teach the students good audience etiquette.
- Watch the Speaker - Show respect to whoever is speaking
- Voices Off(Level 0) - No talking while someone is speaking/performing
- Listen to the Performer - Actively listen to whoever is talking
- Activity Down and Hands Together - Hands off your trick/balloon while someone is speaking/performing.
- Don’t Distract - Try not to do anything that would distract from the performance/speaker
This part is the most important part in the program. Getting the students up and communicating in front of their peers. I tend to have the students sit at desk or on the floor and have the student performing stand in the front of the classroom. I always start with students who would like to go first. This usually breaks the ice for students who might not be as confident to perform. After every speaker/performer we always clap for that person. Not every performance is going to be perfect for every student. I always try to be reassuring, encouraging and ensure that students can try again if we have time, or remind me at the start of the next club that they would like to try to trick again.
Students not wanting to perform?
Let’s face it, not every student is a natural born entertainer and that’s okay! However, I still try to give every student a chance to perform. I once had a student who never wanted to perform. However, one week they mastered one of the tricks. I noticed this when I was walking around during the practice time. I really tried to build them up during this time and reinforce that they did a really good job at it. This student still didn’t want to perform it. So instead I asked if instead of performing in front of the class, he would do it from his seat. He agreed and did a fantastic job. My takeaway is that some students need that extra nudge, so it’s important to find a middle ground if possible.