The Payoff of Practice
A club owner from Hamburg, Germany saw a local band perform in Liverpool, England. He liked their sound and offered them a gig playing at his club in Hamburg. But it was a hard gig; the sets were 8 hours straight, 7 nights a week. Any band with relative success would have turned it down, as it was a grueling gig that didn't pay well at all, but this band hadn't made a dent outside of their home town, so they accepted. The acoustics of the club were bad, and the patrons weren't really listening. But for 8 hours a night, 9 months straight, this band played on.
By the time The Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, they had logged more time in front of a live audience then most bands do in their entire careers.
Is it a coincidence that the greatest band in history had such an immense amount of practice? I don't think so.
We should all strive to find our "Hamburg", whether it be in performing, crafting, studying, etc.; an opportunity that allows us to hone our craft over many grueling hours. Hamburg could be performing several open mics per night for a year. It could be landing a summertime gig at a local amusement park where you have to perform 3 shows a day.
I'll tell you what Hamburg is NOT: It's not performing only at your local magic club meetings. It's not sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring for your next gig. It's not performing at family gatherings for the same group of people year after year.
The lesson: Make an effort to perform as much as possible. Not a week goes by where I don't perform magic in front of a crowd, be it a gig or an open mic. I know a few magicians and comedians that perform several times a night! I don't recommend starting with that, but start somewhere. Put yourself outside of your comfort zone and push yourself a litter further then you did last week.
Practice pays off.