CyberGene When I started playing in church many years ago, the organ and the piano were in a high gallery where nobody could see me, and similarly I could only see the singers and that helped me with my nervousness. If I had to be down there in front of all the people I would froze from the fear 😀 Not sure how you are with the stage fright and whether that situation made it easier or harder for you though. Some people play better when they can see, and be seen by the audience.
Well, to me the stage fright is a curious thing: when I began playing, I hated anyone close to me, as that was mistake-full playing time for sure!. Then, as I commented a while ago, had a chance to play on the hotel who hosted my daughter's wedding in Germany (I am from Spain). It was just some casual playing on some spare time we had between the ceremony and the banquet. But that was like a clicking-mindset moment. There were people who I didn't even know (the 90% of German guests) and people from Spain who, in most part, had no clue I played. So for about 80% of the people there, it was a surprise. And I could play regardless of them. And I was fully sober! (but really happy 🤩)
Since that magic moment (back in August 2021), I have played on any available piano / keyboard I find, being in a 5-star hotel bar, or a peregrine househall or a balneary lounge… And, since March 2022, I play on a rock/pop band and in July 2022 were my first two concerts with them. No panic, just fun! 🥳
Then it came the chance to play in the church festival… Why not?😅
So, being in front of the crowd or hidden made no big difference in my playing, except that I would have loved to see how public reacted (which, looking at the video recordings, was wonderfully festive)
I am still a very basic player. Have good rythm sense, that helps quite a lot to get into the song groove and add into it. And people seems to enjoy it. So, what can I do but keep learning and playing? 😃