Following the death of a loved one, there is often a great deal of planning to be done for the funeral. While this can be challenging, knowing that you’re creating a ceremony to honour the deceased is a powerful way to celebrate their memory and to help mourners begin the healing process. A significant element in many funeral services is music. Should you include music in your loved one’s service? What type of songs or instruments should you choose? Our guide is here to help you sort through these decisions and find more clarity regarding funeral music.

The power of music

Music has been an important part of funerals for years. Though it is not incorporated in every culture, many western cultures and religious services frequently use music in their end-of-life ceremonies. Music is deeply tied to human emotions. Songs of all genres and subjects can speak to us, remind of us people or experiences, and even help to remove emotional blocks. In the funeral setting, music can bring one to tears or even force a smile, as memories are relived and emotions expressed. There’s no doubt that music is powerful, and when incorporated appropriately into a funeral ceremony, it can be a beautiful thing both to remember the deceased and to impact attendants.

Music as comfort

Music may be chosen for different reasons. Some funeral songs provide hope and speak of the afterlife or of what comes after death. In this way music can be a source of comfort. If a religious service is to be performed, you may wish to select faith-based music to go with the ceremony. Check with any clergy members to ensure any music you’d like to choose is an appropriate choice for the religious service. Often, both religious and secular music can be used at various points within the service.

Honouring your loved one

Funeral music is also a way to celebrate your loved one’s personality or unique self. If they have pre-planned their funeral, your loved one may have left specific instructions about the songs they’d like to have played. In this circumstance, playing their chosen pieces can be a great way to honour your family member and feel close to them. If they haven’t indicated any preferences for music, the music you choose can be songs that they enjoyed or which remind you of them. These can also be tunes that have meaningful lyrics or a strong message. Some family members prefer including songs that add a touch of humour. It is up to you what style of music you opt for and what feelings your selections may evoke. The music played before, during, and after a funeral service can bring up deeper emotions of grief or can add a bit of levity. Both are appropriate and there are no limits beyond what you and your family feel is best for the ceremony.

Selecting the right music

Funeral music is often played via a stereo/sound system, but you can choose to have live music as well. If a family or friend is interested in performing, this can be a beautiful tribute to the dearly departed. Family Funeral Services can also recommend local musicians who are available for funeral ceremonies.

When choosing a piece, be sure to listen to it prior to the funeral to be aware of its lyrics and tone. If including an unusual or humorous song in the service, you may wish to share a brief story about its significance to guests prior to playing.

While there is no right or wrong answer to choosing the right funeral music, the pieces you select may go a long way towards helping with the grieving process, setting the tone for the ceremony, and ensuring the funeral is a touching and memorable tribute for your loved one.