If you are playing music “in public”, you will need permission from the owners of copyright in the music, lyrics and sound recording.
A performance which is given for free or which has a small audience may still be regarded as a “public” performance for the purposes of copyright. However, performances of music at events such as weddings or birthdays will not generally be “in public” as these events are considered private in nature.
The Australian Copyright Council has released a factsheet titled ‘Music-Playing Music: APRA & PPCA’ which contains information about the licences people need for playing live and recorded music “in public”.
The factsheet can be found on the Australian Copyright Council website.