Backing Tracks, Lip Syncing & Live Performance

In today’s modern worship environment technology is now highly affecting the way we worship. One such is the use of backing tracks.

So what is a backing track?A backing track is an audio or MIDI recording that musicians play or sing along to. Let’s look at some situations that warrant the use of backing tracks:

  • When there is no band available

If there is no band available to play for the singer then it naturally follows that the singer will use a backing track unless if they are comfortable performing an acapella act.

A lot of churches before they have a band will use backing tracks so as to have the energy that is provided by a band.

  • When you are playing with an amateur band

There is nothing annoying for a professional singer as an inexperienced band that will eventually destroy the singer’s performance by playing out of time, tune and not paying attention to detail and dynamics.

  • When finances do not allow for a live band

Sometimes the artist might be invited to a concert to perform a song but then they will not be affording to pay their band for that performance so they choose to use a backing track. This is very common in the church & church events as the musicians are not paid for their performance but it’s regarded more as a service to God.

  • To add extra instrumental/vocal tracks to a live performance

If the singer needs a choir and yet there is no choir present it naturally follows they will use backing tracks. Also there might be string/orchestra sections that the band cannot play.

  • For television programs

Many television programs require that acts perform only the vocals live to simplify the process of mixing the performance and so as to not compromise the quality of their show just in case blunders are made by the band!

What are the problems of using backing tracks in worship?

I feel backing tracks bring an artificialness to the worship. Everything is scripted, there is no room to allow the Holy Spirit to move because you have to follow the order that is on the track. Also you cannot adjust tempos. Sometimes the tempo that is on the cd just does not do it in the moment. With a live performance the band can adjust but with a backing track you are forced to the tempo that was used in the recording


Lip synclip-synclip-synch (short for lip synchronization) is a technical term for matching lip movements with pre-recorded sung or spoken vocals that the listeners hear through speakers, either through PA system speakers in a “live” performance or television or cinema speakers in the case of a lip-synced TV show or film performance. The term can refer to any of a number of different techniques and processes, in the context of live performances and recordings.

My question is in the context of worship should the church be allowed to lip sync. I know of big churches who have announced to their congregants that they are doing a Live DVD recording when all they were doing was lip syncing. My problem with this is firstly that announcing to be doing a live concert when you are lip syncing is deception and a church should be honest in its dealing. Secondly the question now arises: Is this experience a worship experience or it’s just an event? Should this be allowed in the church?

Join me in the next article where i will be talking more about this and how it affects our modern day worship.