How Do You Choose the Right Music for a Funeral?

Music to my ears !

Music is one of the most remembered parts of a Funeral Ceremony and something that will form a lasting reminder, especially for Celebrant led funerals where traditional hymns are most often replaced by pieces that have much more meaning to the deceased and their families.

So how do you choose the right music for a Funeral?

There are no rules – the choice of music is entirely up to you.

For most ceremonies there are typically three opportunities to play music:

  1. Processional Music – as we enter the venue;
  2. Reflection Music - usually in the middle of the ceremony often to give time to be at one with your memories or say a silent prayer;
  3. Recessional Music - as we leave the venue.

The only restriction we have is that of time and so a 5 minute EP of a favourite track may not be the best use of time. Consider perhaps including this on a playlist to be played in the background when guests meet after the funeral to share their memories and stories.

Music is a powerful thing which can evoke a whole host of memories and when coupled with words this has even greater power.

If you want to include a traditional hymn that will work just as well and either just the music or a sung version can be used.

When choosing the songs to play at a funeral, memorial or celebration of life, there are a few different factors that should help guide your decision.

Music will set the tone for a funeral, so think about how you want to make people feel: poignant, uplifting, reminiscent, comforted.

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 appreciate the contrast.

Think of songs that were your loved one’s favourites, that reflect their personality or that held special significance in their life. As your Celebrant I will listen to the reasons why the piece is important and weave this into your ceremony ensuring that everyone will understand the meaning behind each.

Family members and close friends can be a good source of ideas, special requests and inspiration for music to be played at a service. If you are having trouble making selections, there are many classics and safe choices.  I will use my knowledge and experience to help you select a piece that is just right.

If you’re not familiar with the songs listen to each one completely and read over the lyrics to make sure they are right for you. If you would like guests to sing along, provide the words in the Order of Ceremony and, as your Celebrant, I will courage their participation.

Some people like to select their own music before they die, and if this is their wish, please try to honour it as closely as possible.

I heard the tale of a lovely lady, Elsie, who loved to party even in her later life. She died aged 96 and left specific instructions to have both “The Time Warp” and “Agadoo” played at her funeral but not to tell anybody of “her little secret”. The choice of music had the desired impact, initially of shock, but then a real lift for all involved as they knew Elsie would have howled laughing at their reaction.

One final note,  if you’re choosing songs for someone’s funeral, or your own, 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.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found it useful. Please reach out if I can assist you in anyway - 07718 584575.

Love Denise x

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