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 music for your own send off or have the difficult decision of choosing songs for a loved one’s funeral, it isn’t easy.
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.
Most funeral services have at least two slots for music – one for entering and one for the exit. 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. Here is a quick guide on music choice for funerals.
Make it personal
Over anything else, music is probably the most ideal way to personalise a funeral service. Make sure the songs chosen mean something to the person’s life you are celebrating, even if they don’t seem like obvious funeral choices. It could be their favourite artist or a song from their favourite film. Popular artists played at funerals include Elton John, Celine Dion and Frank Sinatra. Don’t be put off by using happy or uplifting funeral songs – it’s a celebration after all.
Set the tone
Music can really set the tone of any gathering, so think about how you want to make people feel: poignant, uplifting, reminiscent, comforting? 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.
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.