“Your work is not at a level where I can offer criticism.”
Albert Goshman made the comment to a young Irish magician as the young man was driving Goshman to the airport. The two had appeared on the same bill at an Irish convention and the young man was seeking advice from the master as to how he could improve his act.
When word spread of Goshman’s response, many magicians were taken aback by the curt nature of his comment. “How arrogant,” they chimed.
For those who take their work seriously, however, and have achieved some measure of success, it is difficult to dispense advice because they understand how challenging it is to perform magic.
Great magicians must fashion words like a playwright, possess the digital dexterity of a concert pianist, move with the grace of a dancer, harness the quick wit of an improvisational comedian, tap the emotional depth of an actor and present the bravura of an opera singer. Not many can. It takes years of training and development.
Second, there are few – if any – academies or formal training grounds for magicians. Even the books that purport to be “courses,” have no pedagogical underpinnings. Most are just collections of tricks assembled because they can be advertised as being “easy to master.” They do both the subject and their audience a disservice.