“There is no eliminating nerves, as there is no eliminating fear; there is courage and how we continue to play through the nerves.”
What you eat plays a vital role! Shy away from dairy and caffeine, eat meals that day that are good and healthy while not upsetting your stomach. Eat a BANANA prior to your performance, the banana acts as a natural Beta Blocker (when stressed, metabolism rises, potassium levels drop. This offsets that imbalance).
"Minimal Effort, Maximum Efficiency" - put in the exact amount of effort you need to complete a musical task (stop trying so hard - you're just fighting yourself)
Practice where you perform
Trek up and down the stairs a few times or run around outside then practice (elevated heart rate simulates performance) - will get you used to playing with the nerves
Learn your music faster or more challenging than you will be performing
Steal an audience with Friends & Family - Get more Exposure
When it’s time to perform, many thoughts can seem to go rushing through your head. Here are some personal things to keep in mind:
The Performance is a celebration of all your hard work
This is an opportunity to take what we love and give it back to those around us
Do some Pushups - releases endorphins (reduces stress)
Put your instrument down - Go to pick it up only when it’s time to play
Focus on your breathing (Alexander Technique, Meditation, Ext.)
Over the years while I am significantly more comfortable on stage with a guitar in my hand, it’s the wait, the pause before the performance, that gets my heart racing. We do not self medicate through pills or alcohol, because then there is less of you behind your instrument. Give your whole self, nerves and all; learn how to use the nerves in your playing.