Practicing for a gig

Hi guys, sort of new around here, been a member for a couple of years but generally been quiet. I have a question.
I have a big birthday in Nov this year and consequently will be having a party. The guitar teacher i see for 1 to 1 lessons has a band and they are performing. I have asked, as a surprise to all the guests, to play a couple of songs with them (3 actually). My question is how is the best way to prepare for this, they arent difficult (Summer of 69, Daydream Believer, and Im a believer), but i wondered whether to devote time each day to all 3 or just concentrate on one. Also how long should i devote to it, Im retired so not constrained, but mindful of overpracticing if indeed thats possible. Also if anyone has any suggestions on practice aids (apps or the like) that would help. I started learning guitar at Christmas 2020. Thanks in advance for any help.

If it was me and if you already know the songs then go and stand with confidence and play . The worst that could happen is you mess up. Just do it and good luck . Have fun

Martin @Martinharv
I don’t want to be impolite and ask but with the three songs you chose the birthday must be in the high numbers.
As far as performing, just get up and do!!!

There’s the thing, I wouldn’t say I “know” them as in playing them. Well perhaps at a rudimentary level, but its more how to get them “performance” ready. Particularly as ive never played in front of anyone but the Mrs before. Im guessing ill probably have to learn to play standing up, which ive never done hefore.

Practice the songs so you can play them by heart or just have the cords on your phone in front of you.

Hey, I’ve done this a few times, here are some

  • Practising all songs everyday is 100% better than trying to learn them one by one.
  • Consider how much time you have left until the party and plan your time.
  • Do not rely on improving your skills. If a part of a song is tricky, simplify it to your current ability rather than assuming you can improve in time.
  • Learn each song in its simplest form (i.e. chord strumming with a simple pattern) initially. Main goal is to be able to play each in full. Then add complexity as time allows.
  • Print out chord charts and practice following them. Take your charts to the gig. It is better if you memorise everything but have your back up with you.
  • I do not think over-practising is possible as long as it does not impact your physical health and does not cause injury. The more the better.
  • Do your best to prepare, but once the gig starts focus on having fun rather than doing everything right.

Good luck!


Welcome to the forum Martin

Practice these songs with your teacher and the band if possibly. Nothing teaches you faster than playing with others. It forces you to play through mistakes and teachez you to keep time with others.
You’ll need to know the chord progression good enough to play the whole song at its simplest form to start though.


Thanks for your input, ill definitely look to devote time every day to each song. I have the best part of 5 months to do this so time isnt really an issue.
I wouldnt say any of them are difficult, i can play all the chords, a couple of the changes (mainly to Bm which crops up in 2 of the 3 songs) need tidying up but there’s nothing overly complex. The middle 8 in Summer of 69 is a barre chord sequence im already fairly ok with. The strumming for each song is fine too.
I already have the charts, I know Summer of 69 by heart already, and will likely know the others when the time comes.
The over practising was more along the lines of if frustration sets in but i think i know now when to just put the instrument down and have a break.
Hopefully it will be fun but ill be terrified beforehand!
Thanks for your input, most helpful.
Intriqued a bit by your possibly aviation related handle? Just curious as a PPL holder

I did something similar recently. I practiced the songs until I was happy that I could play them well. Leading up to the gig I practiced with the 'band, or for me the lead guitarist as he was the band) a couple of times a fortnight before the gig and then a week before the gig.
About 3 weeks before the gig, I played every song, one after the other, once a day to keep my hand in and to get used to playing the songs in sequence. As the others have said, on the day, just enjoy it. Playing with a band is a lot less stressful than playing on your own, you have them to follow and they will also support you while you are playing.

Have fun and make sure that someone records it!

This is the most important bit if you’ve never performed or played with a band before. You will also need to practice standing up! Good luck it’s great fun.

Hi Martin,

I think this is an an excellent opportunity and something I would love to do. I read some sound advice here already. Practice all of the songs and know them well at your current skill level is the best one. Also, if possible playing with others is a big one, because you may have a different idea than the band does for sound. You gave to anticipate what your band mates are about to do. Maybe they will just stand back and let you rock that Bryan Adams. Enjoy the spotlight , even if it’s 15 minutes. You motivated me to do something similar. My problem is memory of lyrics without a book. I hope you find that easy to remember lyrics and play. Wishing you the best of luck