A few tips and ideas on how to become a mentalist
There’s something really quite appealing to learning the secret art of mind reading. Knowing how to move objects with the power of thought alone. Discovering how to seemingly predict the future. Or to uncover the past through mind reading.
Learning how to become a mentalist starts with reading about the subject and immersing yourself in websites like mine to learn and grasp some of the core skills required to perform mentalism. Once you understand the basics, or if you are keen to progress quickly, enroll on mentalism courses to master the skill. Learn how to perform 'mind reading simulation' by reading nonverbal communication and body language. Learn mind-trickery using 'slight of hand' with mentalism card tricks or predictions. Perfect 'mind control techniques' through the power of suggestion and hypnosis.
Enter the world of mentalism and mental magic
If you're looking to break into the world of mentalism and magic, but you don't know where to begin, this post is designed to help you on your way.
But firstly, lets take a look at what a mentalist does.
What is a mentalist?
Firstly, it's important to understand what a mentalist is not.
A mentalist is not a psychic or a medium. They are not spiritualists or a clairvoyants. And they don't profess to be able to have precognition or any foreknowledge of an event. They don't actually posses any psychokinesis powers and they are not able to seek out knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means in the form of diviniation.
But good mentalists create performances and effects that give the appearance of many of the above abilities and powers. Mentalism done well gives the illusion that something out of this world is happening, when in fact the audiences are simply being tricked.
In short, one of the core skills of mentalism is the simple art of seemingly being able to read minds.
Now you know what mentalists are not, but what are they?
Tricks performed by mentalists are either about fooling the mind or about mind control through the power of suggestion and hypnosis.
A mentalist is a performing artist who performs mentalism.
Mentalists play mind games with their audience where their techniques can appear as if they are reading minds. Performances can also give the illusion that they are clairvoyant through the power of cold reading.
The two most common ways mentalists perform include influencing people (through suggestion) and reading their body language..
Their clever mind games can have people believing they are professional mediums. Or that they are somehow telepathic or they have the power of divination or psychokinesis.
Starting out learning mentalism for beginners and how to become a mentalist
Mentalism is generally recommended as a pathway leading from the more traditional and familiar magic.
Start out with learning hypnosis
However, another good starting point is to learn a skill like hypnosis, which is where Derren Brown started out. Having a better understanding of psychology and how the mind works, will always stand you in good stead when you begin to learn mentalism.
If you're interested in learning about hypnosis or even about how to become a stage hypnotist, here are a couple of courses to help you on your way.
Course #1 - The Art of Stage Hypnosis: Click here to find out more on The Art of Stage Hypnosis.
Course #2 - The Covert Art of Hypnosis: Click here to find out more about The Covert Art of Hypnosis.
Learning about hypnosis is particularly helpful where you've chosen to focus your mentalist career on the suggestion and cold reading side of mentalism.
Important note however, you don't necessarily have to become a stage hypnotist after learning about hypnotism or stage hypnosis, it's the learning and understanding that's important here. Particularly around the concept of suggestion (or the power of suggestion) and the subconscious mind.
Stage performance and presence
The other skill you will need to develop is your presentation and showmanship skills. You need to have confidence (see below re self confidence software), to stand up on stage. But also you need to be able to entertain the crowd.
Learning to entertain the crowd - two approaches to crowd pleasing
Stage performers who perform mentalism (or magic for that matter), have two alternative approaches. The first of these is the use of comedy, and the second is using the power of drama. For example, Derren Brown often uses comedy in his performances, but he will equally adopt a dramatic approach too.
An example of a truly dramatic approach is seen in the Britain's Got Talent video below. The effect is quite unusual and rather extreme. Aaron Crow is described as a mentalist performer. Who has the audience and the BGT judges on the edge of their seats.
The choice is yours, your personality type may lean you one way or another. The act you put on has to be engaging. People either need to be drawn to your drama or to your amusing and funny personality. If you find comedy a struggle, as many do, then perhaps the dramatic approach may work better for you.
How to do mentalism and become a mentalist
This “warm up” period will allow you to gain experience with magic or with hypnosis. It will also help you with learning how to best present your material.
From this point, you'll be better prepared to dive into the world of mentalism.
Where to begin with learning how to become a mentalist
Learning how to become a mentalist starts like anything new, and that's to begin reading about it. One of the first recommended books to read on the subject is the 13 Steps to Mentalism book (Click there to read a review and summary of this mentalism book).
If you want to buy this book, click this link to find the latest price on Amazon.
The 13 Steps to Mentalism book will give you a good understanding on many of the tricks and techniques required for a beginner. With each chapter presenting a different mentalism concept and technique.
The mentalism tricks in the 13 Steps to Mentalism are old, but they provide some of the basics that are tried and tested, plus they work.
This is an excellent book for getting started in mentalism. And despite the age of the book and of the tricks contained in it, many mentalists (Derren Brown included), revive old mentalism tricks and make them their own. But with a modern and unique twist.
Whenever you are learning a new trick or technique, always keep in mind how you can make yourself different. What twist or unique performance can you add to an already tried and tested mentalism trick?
Progressing with mentalism training
It is argued that mentalism is a strand of magic. Where in the widest definition of magic this is "the power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces."
Most see magic to be closely related to card tricks, rabbits out of hats and sawing people in half. Whereas mentalism is one of the most powerful genres of magic, striking at the very core of people; playing with their minds.
There is a cross-over between the two, as some magicians perform mentalism tricks and some mentalists perform magic too. There is a fine line between the two skills and many would categorise them in the same genre.
But if you are more focused on mentalism techniques of the mind, which sometimes delve into the psychology of the mind, you will soon be convincing people that you hold a rare ability to divine thought, predict the future, and control the space around you.
When you get this right, whilst you don't posses the special powers of some kind of divine person, you will hold the power to wow crowds and audiences.
What makes mentalism special?
What makes mentalism special is that many people believe that it is truly possible to read minds. Some believe in mediums and clairvoyants. These beliefs allow you to connect with your audience on a very personal level.
Mentalism is one of the few genres of magic that could actually be viewed as “real” magic. Whilst a trick involving a person being sawed in half is impressive to a degree, we know that this is not actually possible to happen. Or certainly not possible without actually harming or killing the subject.
Traditional magic has its place, but with mentalism you are playing on the edge of peoples realities. People believe in ghosts and the after life, people believe in spiritualism and the divine, so this makes mentalism that much more believable to an audience.
If you are able to demonstrate an ability to delve into the minds of your spectators, this will not only make you stand out and keep people guessing, but it can also be an incredibly haunting experience for some.
How to do mentalism with a study mentalism course
In addition to reading books, there are mentalism courses to help you on your mentalism learning experience.
One such course on how to become a mentalist is 'Master Mentalism Course.'
To find out more click this link to the Master Mentalism Online Course.
This online course teaches you the following techniques:
- Street Magic
- Mind Reading
- Remote Viewing
- Card Tricks
- Spoon Bending
- And so much more about how to do mentalism...
This mentalism study course is sold on the basis that 'Mr X' is spilling the beans on magic and mentalism secrets. But people have to learn the skills somehow, and this course is just one of those ways.
If you admire any of the following mentalists and magicians like Criss Angel or David Blaine, Derren Brown or David Copperfield, you'll be pleased to know that you'll be able to learn their style of mentalism and magic too.
Building confidence and self confidence
As with any new skill, you need to build up confidence. You need to be prepared to try and fail. The only way to truly learn is by doing. Having the theory is one thing, but getting out there and doing it is where the real learning starts.
Even mentalist masters like Derren Brown don't get it right every time, in the video below he openly admits to Richard and Judy that his mentalism doesn't always work.
What I recommend is to learn one trick at a time. Perfect that trick in your bedroom at home. Then practice it on family and friends, before you venture out to the wider public. Friends and family will be more forgiving of your mistakes. They will understand that you're just starting out and learning.
Probably one of the hardest parts to learning how to perform good mentalism, is being able to change your way of thinking (also see below re building self confidence).
Mentalism is like playing a completely different part than a typical magician. If you pull it off correctly, and in a way that it was originally intended, the audience will view you as the same.
Whilst on the matter of confidence and aligned to 'self-improvement,' it's worth mentioning a couple of online courses or materials that may help you with this. Links to these can be found below.
The first in Mindzoom - Build self confidence and positive thinking
Having self confidence is key to any new learning. But with performing on a stage, self confidence becomes even more critical.
Self confidence, or a lack of it, will show much more when you're on stage. Where in a normal situation your lack of confidence will be exposed, on stage this will be magnifed probably ten-fold.
Mindzoom is revolutionary software which will reprogram your mind and body automatically. Mindzomm will place 1,000's of positive affirmations directly in your brain. Click this link to find out more and how much it costs.
If you want to be more successful in life and not just in mentalism, Mindzoom will help build your confidence. It works using subliminal therapy and the software speaks directly to your subconscious mind.
This software sits on your computer and runs in the background, delivering up to 18,000 positive affirmations per day. If you work on your computer for most of the day, this is the perfect way in which to connect with your subconscious and change the way you think.
You can either use the subliminal messages that come with Mindzoom or create your own too.
Thought Elevators system
Another self improvement tool to consider is Thought Elevators. Click here to find out more about Thought Elevators.
More reading and mentalism books
Other mentalism books and reading material includes the following books and self-help tools:
Tricks of the Mind written by Derren Brown - Click here to find the latest price of Tricks of the Mind on Amazon
The James Bond Cold Reading by Julian Moore - Click here to find the latest price of The James Bond Cold Reading on Amazon
Practical Mental Magic by Theodore Annemann - Click here to find the latest price of Practical Mental Magic on Amazon
Subliminal MP3 self improvement - Click here for details of Subliminal MP3
For more details on the above books plus more books on mentalism, please visit this post: More mentalism books.
I hope you enjoyed this article about how to become a mentalist…
I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your journey to become a performing mentalist or magician (or both). Please comment below. Please also share your experiences, both good and bad.!
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about mentalism or magic, I will try to answer them (or specifically about how to become a mentalist), please comment below with your questions.
There will also be many more articles about mentalism for you to read and learn about this fantastic skill.
Have fun and enjoy your journey to become a mentalist!