how to play guitar on stage

5 Things You Must Do To Prepare For Gig Day

How to play guitar on stage.  There are lots of things to consider before playing in front of people.  Be it for your church band or for some other band.  The very first time can be nerve wracking for some and out rightly terrifying for others.

The key to a successful performance will be to make sure you have prepared before hand.  How do you prepare, well that is simple.  You need to practice the songs before you play them.

The very first time I was asked to play for the church band I was given the songs on a Wednesday.  I had to play on that Sunday morning.  Luckily I come from a very organised church where we are given the songs a few days before.   For the more experienced band members this means you know what will be played.  For me this meant practice time.

In our church’s praise and worship we normally will play up to four or maybe five songs on that Sunday.  So my mission would be to print these specific songs from the internet and play them until I could play them better.

Remember I am still pretty much a beginner – although my kids think I am a rock star.  This I can assure you I am not.  Our Pastor is very good at playing guitar and I am still far behind, I think he is a lot closer to being a rock star than me.


So come gig day, that would be Sunday at my church.  I for some reason was not that nervous, I think it is because I am normally a lot more confident that what I should be.  I stood on that stage and played so well, that is what everyone told me.  I actually could not hear myself as the band was very loud.

The one thing I did notice that I needed improvement on was my strumming.  I found myself to be off beat a lot of the time, I don’t know why no one else picked that up.  Perhaps they also did not hear me – or they did hear me and I was actually good.  A bit of a mystery but its cool.

how to play guitar on stage


  1. Make sure you know what you are playing.  Also print the chords from Ultimate  For those of you who don’t understand how to print from a website -all you need to do is: Highlight the text.  Once highlighted you will right click on your mouse and press print.
  2. So now you have your songs printed.  Close your bedroom door and start playing each song.  If you are a beginner make sure you know all the chords on each song.  You can also just Google the chords and it will show up.  For example if you do not know how to play the BM chord.  Type BM chord on the search bar and press enter.  You should find tons of different pictures and videos available.
  3. Make sure to practice everyday up to the performance.
  4. Schedule a band practice with the full band and practice with them.  This will do a lot to help you know where you are with regards to being able to play.  If you find you still behind and cannot play properly then you must practice more – do not give up.
  5. Another great way to get ready for any song is to play with a Youtube video.  Search the song title on Youtube like this:  Revelation Song Guitar Chords and loads of different tutorials will show up.  This way helped me tremendously.  And last thing is do not lose the papers you printed as you will need them to play.  You do not want to play with another paper that has different chords, it might confuse you.


  1. If you can ask your sound person to plug in earphones for you.  And ask them to play you a little louder through them.  You can then use these earphones while playing on stage.  This will help you as you will hear how you sounding during play, you can therefore adjust your play accordingly.
  2. If you playing and you struggling to play the chords properly, ask the sound dude to put your volume lower. Then all your playing mistakes will not play through the sound system as loud as usual.  This will also help you gain confidence as you will have the one gig under your belt without getting strange looks from the audience.


In a performance be it with the church or in the local bar.  When you are playing in front of people it is not only about how you play.  You also need to have guitar stage presence. You need to engage with your audience and be part of the song.

Even as a beginner you will still need to look the part.  That is why it is vital you know all your chords that need to be played.  So that you don’t need to stop and look where to put your fingers.  Another important part is to enjoy yourself.  See yourself as part of this band and play the character.


how to play guitar on stage

Dress like this dude above, just kidding.

How you dress will totally depend on a number of factors.

Like are you playing for a church band or an orchestra?  It also depends on your age, location and many other factors.  You don’t want to dress like a twenty year old when you are sixty.  And you don’t want to dress like a sixty year old if you are twenty.  I would say dress your age for the performance.  But try dress your best wear.  Wear something that is a little smarter than your usual dress.

Being on stage is a performance and you need to dress for the occasion. Don’t wear your old vest and the same old jeans you wear each day.  Dress to impress.

how to play guitar on stage

Most of the time you can dress semi casual like this guy above.  Just wear a nice pair of jeans and a nice buttoned shirt.  That should do the trick if you are playing in a church band.


Getting stage fright must be the worst thing that can happen to anyone.  If you are a musician as a novice or even as s beginner this would be a bad experience.

Just like you prepare for any gig or performance you will also need to prepare for this.  If you know that you get stage fright at times you must ask your doctor to give you something to relax you.  This should do the trick most of the time.


Here are some tips to help you if you get stage fright while playing in front of people.  Do not just walk off the stage as this will make you feel worse.

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Try and focus on what you have to do and not on performing.
  3. Play one chord at a time until the song is complete.
  4. Once the next song comes up play one chord at a time again until you are finish.
  5. Do not focus on the faces watching you, rather focus on your guitar and the job in front of you.
  6. Do not show anyone that you are stressed as this can just make it all worse for you.  Try and control your body language.
  7. Fake it until you make it, I am sure you have heard this saying.  This is one of my favourite motos in life.  People will never know you had stage fright unless you show them or tell them.  So relax and try take one step at a time.

You can prepare for the gig or performance but you will never be 100% prepared.  As long as you know how to play whats in front of you then you will be fine.  Considerate on one chord and one strum at a time.  Don’t let those faces watching you make you feel intimidated.  Most of them would also love to be able to play a guitar.


Playing in front of people can be stressful but is so rewarding.  If you can play the guitar and know the chords and the songs you have nothing to be nervous of.  Most people would love to be you  performing  in front of others.