Tip #7 - Throw my ears into the audience
Strange, I know...this goes along with the previous suggestion, to start singing the music in my head. If I'm having a difficult time getting into a performance of I feel like I'm having a hard time including the audience into our performance space, I pretend like I am sending my ears out into the audience so that I can hear our sound as they are hearing it. It's kind of a bizarre sensation, really, but when I imagine doing that, the sound coming from the piano really does start to sound different. And if I'm performing with someone else, I can hear our sounds melding together in much more of an organic way. Doing this also helps to take me out of what I call my ego zone, thereby decreasing the likelihood of being self-conscious, paranoid, and nervous.
Tip #8 - Remember why I am performing -
I took several years off from really living fully in the music scene in order to stay home with our daughter after she was born. That time away from music gave me the gift of realizing what music and performing meant to me. It made me realize that I love music not only for its beauty but also because of the connections it builds between all sorts of people. For me, music is communication and since I'm a bit of a shy person, it's my way of communicating in a much more open, intimate way, in a way that I wish I could do face-to-face, perhaps. So now, when I go out on stage, I don't care as much about the mistakes because my goal is different. My goal now is to communicate who I am and what I love; I am a musician and I absolutely love to perform music for you!