If you do all the following things, and nothing but these things, you will walk away from a performance saying, "I enjoyed that. I'm glad I did it. I look forward to doing it again."

If you have been experiencing negative feelings prior to performance and/or negative results during performance, and you choose not to do all the things listed below, then do expect to continue to unnecessarily experience the negative results you have been experiencing.

Always, but absolutely most especially during stressful times:  eat fresh organic vegetables both raw and cooked, eat grass-fed meats, don't allow anything to get in the way of getting a full-night's sleep (some people need only 7 hours, some 9, figure out how much sleep makes you feel best), eat fresh organic fruits but sparingly.  If you eat dairy, eat grass-fed dairy but only sparingly.  Do "relaxing-exercise" such as taking 30-minute walks.  Beware of drinking a lot of juices, especially during stressful times.  Drink water, and cut up ginger and/or lemon & put in hot water for a gut-refreshing tea.  Cut out coffee, sugar, and "factory-made-food".  If you eat grains, do so only sparingly.

If you still have trouble coping with stressful times, then have your amino-acid levels checked, and read the book "The Mood Cure" by Julia Ross (I have no affiliation with Ross or her products).  Also to deal with stress, most people--not just the best musicians--who are "performing" at the top of their fields and leading a balanced life will practice meditation daily.  This website gives an excellent way to start:  www.wildmind.org.  Dr. M. Scott Peck calls his thinking-time and meditation-time his "prayer time" in which he also does pray, and in calling it "prayer time" other people are far less likely to interrupt you during this time, and it truly is prayerful and draws you closer to your God.

Taking care of your body to keep it healthy is the most important job you'll ever have; if you take care of your body then your mind will be sharp yet relaxed, and this will go very, very far in helping you to be able to handle even the most stressful situations with aplomb.

Your Body:

1. Your brain is 80% water. Even mild dehydration affects your thinking process and your mood. Make sure you drink plenty of water the day of performance. It's better to over-hydrate and feel as if you need to go to the loo during performance than to not drink enough water. You can always walk out to the loo immediately after your performance and come back in between the following numbers.

2. Before bed the night before the performance, drink a cup of chamomile tea if you have trouble sleeping; you want a full night's sleep. Chamomile has a general calming effect in the body. If you are feeling very excited the day of performance (we do not say "nervous" or "stomach butterflies"), then drink a half-strength cup of chamomile tea. Peppermint tea also settles the stomach.

3. For about 5 minutes once or twice a month all year long, do the physical exercises we have practiced (crossing arms & ankles, focus on breathing, etc.). The month before performance do this once a week. The week before performance do it daily. The day of performance do it a few times in the morning, however many times you want. You may also do it at the performance while you are sitting waiting for your turn to play.

Your Mind:

4. Have the pieces you will perform memorized and perfected two months prior to the performance--three months or more is better.

5. Every time you practice and play the pieces you will perform, do so with joy. Relax at the keyboard and enjoy the beautiful sound you are creating. Shoulders and arms should feel heavy (like heavy, wet ropes) before and as you play.

6. Think only positive thoughts about the upcoming performance and how you feel about it. What you think about comes to you. Warning: if you think in negative terms about the upcoming performance, then these are the things that will surely come true. Do not engage in conversation with anyone about fear and nervousness. Change all statements about the performance to positive statements. Example: DO NOT say, "I feel nervous." DO say, "I feel excited about playing my beautiful music for others."

7. Visualize what you want the performance to be. Remember that the law of attraction states that whatever you think about comes to you. Warning: if you think even a little bit about how nervous you are, and even a little bit how much you dread it, and even a little bit enumerate your performance fears, then these are the things that will surely come true. Think only of what you want to happen when you're on stage. Think only of the numerous successes you want to experience during the day of performance. Relax and daydream daily about how beautiful and handsome you will look and feel that day, about how happy you will feel when you walk to the piano, picture yourself being relaxed and happy sitting at the piano and playing your pieces exactly how you want to play them, how you will feel so good standing up and bowing when you are through, how happy you will feel walking back to your seat. (Thank you, Fran, for reminding me about this and Norman Vincent Peal.)

8. The day of performance do not play your pieces over and over from beginning to end. Play small parts of the pieces you will perform, and do not do this obsessively: play parts of the pieces with calm and joy in your mind, and play a few of the different parts only a few times. Then play scales as you always do: carefully and deliberately. Happily play entire pieces that you are not going to perform that day.
When you arrive at the performance site, test the piano by playing a scale and then the first 4 or 5 measures of your piece, then leave the piano. Don't make excuses in order to obsessively play more.

9. While you sit and wait your turn, enjoy the music you hear and think only of happy things. When you walk to the piano, smile and remember the daydreaming you did about the way you want the performance to go. Sit at the piano and think only of your piece and how it will sound. Then prepare your hands and proceed with the steps we have practiced in group lessons.

You can follow this procedure and have success with any kind of public performance, such as speeches, etc.

* It's also helpful to promote peace, calm, and stability otherwise in your life as a matter of course. For guidance I refer you to the following; if you don't read the books, I strongly encourage you to at least read the table of contents, and consider reading also the introduction.

How to Ruin Your Life
by Ben Stein

The Compound Effect
by Darren Hardy

Getting Straight A's: A Proven System for Achieving Excellence
in College and Graduate School...
by Gordon W. Green Jr., Ph. D. [This is good for high school students, too.]

Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers--and How You Can, Too
by Dr. Soo Kim Abboud and Jane Kim

How to Ruin Your Financial Life
by Ben Stein

The Old Money Book:  How to Liver Better While Spending Less; Secrets of America's Upper Class
by Byron Tully

Stop Acting Rich
by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D.

Enjoy Your Money: How to Make It, Save It, Invest It, and Give It
by J. Steve Miller

The Money Code
by H. W. Charles

The Old Money Guide to Marriage:  Getting it Right, Making it Last
by Byron Tully

How to Ruin Your Love Life
by Ben Stein

Dad's Guide to Life for Girls
by David Maurer

The Science of Being Great
The Science of Being Well
The Law of Opulence
The Science of Getting Rich
by Wallace D. Wattles

More on taking care of your mind and body:

The Wahls Protocol
by Terry Wahls, M.D.

The Paleo Approach
by Sarah Ballentyne, Ph.D.