I’m sure if you’re any kind or level of performer, you’ve definitely experienced some pre-show nervousness. I know that I used to have a terrible time with this, or especially nerves that would really manifest during the show. This was primarily in my earliest days of performing, since I was going from a very private form of guitar playing to a suddenly public situation, which really had me in a totally different perspective as far as almost anything was concerned! The worst part about it is how it so brings down the level of your playing, and makes it almost impossible to stay focused.
As the years and my level of experience went on however, I noticed that first of all, when it came to pre-show “jitters,” I was far from alone, and that a true professional always had some of this anticipatory nervousness, but was always able to “channel” it, and shift it into a positive level of nerves that ended up helping the performance, instead of hindering it. This is unquestionably a “learned” thing, but becomes second nature with time. Now, before I play, I’m like a caged animal, who needs to be “unleashed” on the public, and who needs to hit that stage “running!” Only then can you transfer that kind of energy and emotion the audience themselves, who will no doubt pick up on your “vibe.”
That being said, you must always stay as cool, calm and collected as possible, because the energy level you will eventually experience will simply take ahold of you, and regardless, you will certainly end up feeling sufficiently exalted before your performance! In the end you’ll see that a case of “nerves” is really nothing more than a natural reaction to the situation that you can channel for the good of your performance.
Of course, in working in a band performance, as opposed to solo, the nerves can at least be a bit of a “shared” experience with your band mates, but I think it can be just as nerve-wracking as solo performance. The only benefit I can see about the solo show is for me, anyway, the fact that it’s all on me, and I don’t have to worry about the other potentially nervous energy around me from the others. The solo show allows me to really get in a “zone” before I play that is deeply personal, and then when I hit the stage, I feel like I can really “be me”, and shine in my own, personal and unobstructed way!
So remember that those “pre-show jitters” can become a thing of the past, and that you must really learn to re-direct your energies as much as possible, right directly into your show! You can only benefit from it, that’s for sure!