Picking songs for events and special occasions is never simple, but perhaps no music choice is more difficult than choosing funeral songs. Whether you’re choosing funeral music for your own send off or have the difficult decision of selecting songs for a loved one’s funeral, it isn’t easy. This guide will give you some guidance on picking that perfect song.
A song which suits your loved one
Some people struggle to think of a significant and meaningful song which reflects the person well, or it can also be a challenge to whittle down their favourite songs. For many people, the music is the most momentous part of a funeral service and is often what people remember most. It’s important to choose the perfect funeral songs so the deceased will always be remembered and associated with the piece of music.
There are many different types of songs you can choose for a funeral. Gone are the days when it had to be a piece of classical music or funeral hymns. Modern funerals have a huge spectrum of music, so choose whatever feels right to reflect your life or the life of a loved one. Music is found at most funerals as it is a way to personalise the ceremony for the person whose life you are celebrating. It’s important to consider the wishes of the person who you have lost and how they wanted their life to be remembered.
Finding an opportunity for music
Most funeral services have at least two slots for music – one for entering and one for the exit. By carefully choosing the music at these points, you can help to set the tone of the ceremony and unite the congregation in the event. There might be other opportunities to play music, such as during a slideshow of images or a moment for reflection. You won’t usually need more than three pieces of music although you can always choose to include more if that feels right for you and your loved ones.
Make it personal
Over anything else, music is probably the most appropriate way to personalise a funeral service. Make sure the chosen songs mean something to the person’s life you are celebrating, even if they don’t seem like popular funeral songs. It could be their favourite artist or a song from their favourite film. Popular artists played at funerals include Elton John, Celine Dion, Frank Sinatra or even Monty Python. Don’t be put off by using happy or uplifting funeral songs – it’s a celebration of life after all.
Music can really set the tone of any gathering, so think about how you want to make people feel: poignant, uplifting, reminiscent, comfort? Even funny songs can be used to make people laugh if that’s what the deceased would have wanted. You can set two different tones with the music used at the start and the end of the service and many mourners appreciate the contrast.
Read the lyrics
Before choosing a funeral song it’s important to listen carefully to the lyrics or look them up. Some songs will feature lyrics that are inappropriate for the occasion, or they might not represent death in a way you that coincides with your beliefs. Lyrics are the most meaningful part of a song and are very significant, so make sure you’re happy with the way the song honours the dead.
Popular funeral songs
If you are finding it hard to find the song that’s just right, have a look at some of these popular choices. It can help to have a listen to lots of different songs and find the right mood.
Eric Idle – Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli – Time to Say Goodbye
Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven
Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World
Elton John – Candle in the Wind
Gerry and the Pacemakers – You’ll Never Walk Alone
Lastly, remember that if you’re choosing songs for someone’s funeral then you know them better than anyone else – so don’t worry about what other people think about your choices. Make decisions based on the person you knew and loved. If you are struggling for ideas, our funeral home will be able to offer some suggestions too.
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