Performance Anxiety is a common experience for most, if not all people. It typically happens because you care. You want a successful outcome and a good experience.
As you anticipate the event happening, there are two important things to know.
1- If you haven't done the work. You are taking way more of a risk than necessary, and there are preventive measures to not have to do that.
2- It may feel like everyone wants you to fail, but that's a you thing. Teachers, peers, family, random person just there for the free food...All there rooting for you!
So let's talk about those preventive measures:
For all you slackers out there, It's time for you to stop cramming for tests. I was once like you, waited until the last minute. I also remember the nerves, the lack of sleep, and when it came to the test... didn't remember most of the things. So as your PSA, study as you are learning the subject. Teachers create a lesson plan so that you are gradually learning as you go along, so all you have to do is retain along the way. Your test grade will thank you.
How to implement this into practicing your instrument.
1-Practice everyday. Strive for a beautiful sound everyday.
2-Keep a log of what you practice to keep you on task. Have a plan.
3-Use the tools in your tool box to practice smart. (Isolate the hard things, clap the rhythms, use a metronome, know your phrases, practice your transitions!)
4-If playing with others, know what they have and how you fit into the music.
5-Listen to recordings that inspire you.
If you don't know the answer. Don't pretend you do. Instead, ask someone that you think knows the answer (Teacher/TA/Someone you trust). If no one around you knows, use the google (look at multiple sources to make sure they agree.)
We only play as well as our average. So get your average higher by repetition and smart practice (twice as slow, wind pattern, phrase by phrase, isolated chunks..) Trust me, It's more fun when you know what you are doing.
When you've done the work. When you can hear every phrase. You know exactly how it wants to go. Trust the work you have done.
Spiegel im Spiegel- Arvo Pärt
Close your eyes and commit to listening. What adjectives describe this piece? If this was in a movie, what would be happening? How does this piece make you feel? Does it bring up any specific emotions? We must never stop emoting through music.