Practice vs Rehearsal vs Performance

This is an interesting topic.

The title alone communicates a lot.

Three different contexts and yet they sound the same, However, they each mean three different things.


This is all about learning, collecting information, testing, refining and adjusting. This can take months of study and reasesrch.

My mentor Alan Alan once said;

“Learn the right way to do it before you start practicing, otherwise, you will become expert at doing it badly”.

My friend Howard Hamburg has this to say about practice.

“Almost every time I lecture someone asks how much time does one have to practice each week.
I respond that you never have to practice.

Magicians can’t believe I say this.
I then state that you don’t have to practice; you want to practice.

Having to do something is negative such as, “I have to go to work.” Wanting to do something is positive and therefore is more advantage.
Howard Hamburg

This is beautiful; it sums up what passion for magic is all about. I practice for my pleasure. The performance is for my audience.

Which brings us to…


This stage of learning is a period where the actual performance of a routine is practiced.

Now, consider this; the rehearsal is still practice, the difference is in learning everything about a routine as it will be presented. This could mean, the script, delivery, pacing, rhythm, timing and pausing. It is here where we learn about things not present during the phase of practicing.


Would you believe I consider this stage of learning a form of practicing?

Yes, I practice my rehearsals in front of a live audience – they don’t know that. They are having too much fun in my company to know that I am going through such an educational process.

Take a look at this video.

Practice, Rehearsal & Performance.

As you watch this, would you say that I am practicing, rehearsing or performing?

What a Paradox.

Every performance in my mind is an opportunity to learn something. All of the previous practice and rehearsal was just to prepare myself for this most critical stage of learning; this is where the real study begins. This is where I fine tune and finesse my delivery, pacing, timing and audience relationship.

Studying magic is a multi layered process of learning. Routines I have performed for years still continue to teach me something. As I grow and mature, I feel differently about a lot of things in life, so naturally, my feelings about my magic will mature too.

What do you think about this post?

Please share. I will up date this blog when more ideas come.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *