Do you have stage fright?
Yeah, me too. I've had it for years. The picture above is me in a performance, unduly serious. I get nervous, and I think all musicians do. The question is how nervousness affects us. Here is what I've learned about stage fright:
Although there are many techniques, performing often is the best and most readily available antidote to crippling performance anxiety. Regular dosing is advised. Performing must be practiced, and it's different from regular practice, in fact way different. Practicing alone is like practicing a sport by yourself, performing is like being in a live game against an opposing team. The “live” unfolding aspect of the game has to be practiced. In sports we call this experience. Solo athletes (for example tennis) and teams tend to be their best at the end of the season where they have had many opponents.
Don't aim for 100% in your performances, don't be greedy, as my teacher used to say. 90% of what you can do in the practice room is plenty and very admirable. Accept this fact as a fact of life and you’ll be much happier. Your 90% will keep growing. To get to 90%, try some performance practice tactics below, or come up with your own - the wackier the better. Many of these will ask you to get in and out of a groove, on purpose. All of them will require you to get out of your comfort zone.