Why We Care

Dear Friends:

As I sit to write this, we’re about halfway through two weeks where the temperature will clear 110° F every day here in Las Vegas. Between that, the pandemic, and political strife around the globe—you might be wondering why we would even care about what it means to say we’re having a “Real Magic Master ClassTM..” But we do – especially since we have one coming up in just a couple of days!

(Register here if you want one of the last spots available: https://tinyurl.com/y9jpmnbj.)

It would appear that the term “Master Class” is losing its true meaning. There is “Masterclass.com,” where you can sign up online and watch people—many, but not all, of whom really are “masters,” teaching lessons on what they are best at. I’m sure they’re wonderful, but you won’t get what you can from a “Real Master ClassTM.” It seems that every magician and his sister are also offering online and offline “Master Classes,” which, though they might be wonderful classes and lectures, are NOT really what that name would imply. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

You might well be wondering why this would be important to us—and, honestly, if you’re one of our students, YOU are the reason.

I first encountered the idea of a Masterclass on a PBS program back in the 1990’s. It was a broadcast of a real masterclass, conducted by the opera singer Luciano Pavarotti at Julliard. There were several episodes, and on each one, several Julliard students would sing for Pavarotti, as their classmates looked on from the audience. The great maestro would proceed to give notes, direction, and otherwise help the student who had just performed, get better. Each student had different problems to be solved, and each got individual feedback and attention. Those who did not perform (most of the class) got the benefit of the maestro’s instruction, as well. The students were advanced students, and much of what was taught would never have been taught in a “normal” conservatory class.

I’ve seen other real Master Classes over the years, including those Jeff and Eugene started conducting about 20 years ago. We actually took the conservatory model and added to it…because we start each class by asking every student what their goals are—both for the long-term, and within the context of that class. One student might want to learn a particular kind of card manipulation. Another might need guidance to develop their onstage character. Still another needs to learn how to build their business and market it. You get the idea. Everyone has different needs and desires—and if the teacher doesn’t ask up front, chances are strong that the class will not meet everyone’s needs. But we do ask, and we pay attention, and we structure the rest of that Master Class Session to meet those particular needs.

So…in addition to the performances given for feedback, each of the faculty members creates and conducts break-out sessions that will address particular students’ needs and goals. If we have three students focused on new close-up magic with cards, we’ll do a session on that. If several others really want to talk about how to market their magic, we do a break-out on that. Every one of our Master Classes is, therefore, different from every other one. That’s why some students come back again and again. There really isn’t anywhere else you can get that kind of intense personalized attention from real masters of their craft, without paying top dollar for one-on-one instruction.

Of course, not all of our classes are Real Master ClassesTM. We also have focus sessions, training sessions, and seminars, all of which offer real deep dives into particular areas of magical performance. They each have their places, and will be right for particular students at particular times…but they aren’t “master classes,” by the real definition of that term.

So…I hope this longish and somewhat academic diatribe has entertained and enlightened! And…if I’ve really piqued your interest, that you’ll join us this Saturday and Sunday! This will be our last Real Master ClassTM offering this year.

Wonderground News
The news is that this month will be the first in over 10 years without Wonderground. Why? Because we’re working on something we think will be even better, but it’s not quite ready yet. I can’t give out details just yet, but watch this space for information on Jeff’s own “Magical Mystery Tour ZOOM Show.” Jeff and the team are all inspired to create a magical experience unlike anything else out there…and you’ll be the first to learn all about it!

In the meantime, I hope you’ll join us either for the Real Master ClassTM this weekend, or one of the upcoming Monday night shows. This next week will be all about Washington Magic, a unique, once-a-month show put on at The Arts Club in Washington, D.C. by some of our favorite students, including David Morey, John McLaughlin, and Eric Henning. Tell your friends…and make sure they know the Monday show is FREE to all.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Watch your inbox for another timely Museletter in just a few days, and Jeff McBride will be telling you all about his “CORE ACT” classes next month.

Till then, stay well, stay safe, be kind and keep making magic!


Tobias Beckwith

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