“Arriving at the ranch, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have worked with Giorgia in the past — without horses — and was excited to see what new process she would take me through to help me open up and specifically tackle the stresses of performance. Since I had worked with her before, and I had a competition coming up, she agreed to “fast-track” our first session.
We started the main paddock inside which there were at least 7 rescued horses. Each large in stature and presence. We entered, and Giorgia led me through a series of challenges designed to focus on projecting your energy. Once they (the horses) accept you as a non-threat, they show what they feel remarkably well.
I could already sense the path Giorgia was leading me down; helping me refocus nervous energy and direct it in a productive way towards calmness and a sense of security.
Then, we walked by a one-horse-pen with my clarinet, and Giorgia asked me to play. We gradually made our way closer to where the horse was. The second she heard the instrument, you could tell that she was interested. Giorgia first had me start with some improv and at her signal, I switched to some prepared music that I had somewhat memorized. As we approached, and after I had switched to my prepared music, which admittedly I didn’t have all memorized, the horse apparently lost interest and turned to walk away (min. 1.14 in the video).
Giorgia coached me through it, and I switched again, this time to music that I was more comfortable with, where the music flowed much more organically. The horse then stopped in her tracks, turned and immediately came right up to the clarinet and placed her head as close as she could to the instrument.
Seeing this physical response after releasing all of the preparedness and perfection of the notes and focusing purely on the music was truly a shift of thought in my part. I have always practiced getting in the zone when preparing for stressful performance experiences, but visually seeing the horse’s reflection of the mood that I portrayed is something unique and unlike any other performance practice experience.
Taking this on stage with me is an interesting process. The comfort I have when I improvise is now easier to access, knowing the effect it had during my session with the horses
Taking this on stage with me is an interesting process. The comfort I have when I improvise is now easier to access, knowing the effect it had during my session with the horses”.
— Professional Clarinetist, San Francisco, CA