Josh Kurzban turned his passion for magic into a profession by teaching people tricks for a living.  Credit: Linda Rosier

Growing up in Seaford, Josh Kurzban remembers being enthralled by a magician at a friend’s birthday party when he was five.

The magician, dressed in a tuxedo, performed various tricks, including some with doves.

“The magic bug bit me,” Kurzban, now 32, said.

Magic kits and books on magic followed, as did numerous trips to the Magic Shop in Hicksville, an emporium for wannabe prestidigitators, and summers at Tannen’s Magic Camp, then held at New York Institute of Technology in Central Islip.

Now based in Brooklyn, Kurzban, aka “Joshy K Magic,” performs a variety of tricks, including illusions, mentalism, pickpocketing, predicting the future, metal bending and card and money tricks. He also offers private lessons to clients who, like him, dream of learning the secrets behind the magic tricks.

But while Kurzban has found his passion in magic, he warns that it takes a lot of practice to get right.

Client Ricky Tam agrees.

Harboring a lifelong interest in magic, Tam, 28, who works in logistics for a shipping company in Rockville Centre and lives in Flushing, recently decided to try his hand at a few tricks.

“I always wanted to see if I could dabble in it, try to learn the mystique,” he said. “I wanted to have another outlet to get along with people and I figured magic was a way to try to connect with them.”

Kurzban showed him various techniques, including misdirection, sleight of hand and distracting the audience by talking to them, but getting the hang of it didn’t come easily to him, Tam admitted.

“He would demonstrate the tricks for the first 5, 10 minutes, try to see if I could get an idea of how he did it,” he said. “Most of the time I was not even close.”

Since learning a few tricks, Tam said he has performed them a handful of times before friends and family.

Overall, Tam said the lessons were a positive experience.

“Learning magic was indeed fun and rewarding,” he said. The physicality and talking involved with doing the tricks, he said, “was like playing the role of an actor.”


Kurzban charges $100 for a one-hour lesson, which he said is enough time to learn an easy trick. More complicated tricks, like card manipulation, can take three to 10 lessons, or $300 to $1,000.


“Cards are the gateway drug in the world of magic,” Kurzban said. Card tricks are eye-catching, easily accessible and the simple ones are easier to learn. “The French Drop,” a sleight of hand coin trick, is also a good beginning trick, but one that takes more time and effort to perfect.


Learning magic requires agility; a serious, focused mindset; and good guidance. “A lot of people are able to do it, and there are easy tricks out there,” Kurzban said. 


Explore the reasons you want to learn magic and get motivated to improve your technique. Whether it’s to surprise a loved one, impress friends and colleagues, or serve as an icebreaker with new acquaintances, magic has a way of bringing people together, Kurzban said.

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