Music can add a very special touch and feeling to the funeral or life celebration that you are planning. Music has a way of bringing back memories to special moments in our lives. It’s important to put some thought into the music and songs that you select for yours or your loved ones funeral for it will set the tone for the service. Music reflects the personality of the deceased and peoples taste in music is as unique as we are.
Ways to select appropriate songs and music
When looking for appropriate songs for someone who has passed, I begin by thinking of the kind of music they listened to when they were at their best or happiest. This could be a time period say the 60’s or it could be what music they listened to when they were doing what they loved. Picture your loved one taking part in one of their hobbies, what music do you think would be playing?
If you are not sure, you can check the CD player in their car or home. If they had an iPod you could go through and find their favorite playlist. If they were happily married do you know which songs they selected for their wedding? You can also ask close friends and relatives what song or music they think of when they think of your loved one.
How to use Funeral Songs to set a theme for the Celebration of Life
Music can set the theme for the service. For example, my uncle wants a traditional Irish funeral where the gathering involves lots of storytelling, laughter and drinks. I envision playing uplifting Irish music in the background. I could also see us singing along to his favorite Irish songs, of course “Danny Boy” and “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”comes immediately to mind. I can also see hiring an Irish band to play live music at his funeral. Imagine having such a service without the Irish music…
Another current theme being used in funerals and life celebrations is angels. Borrowed Angels by Kristin Chenoweth and Angels Among Us by Alabama come to mind as perfect songs for an angel theme. You could also incorporate angels on the folder that you hand out to attendees, the thank you notes you send out, and you could hand out pewter angel pocket charms as people enter the service.
How you can use the Selected Funeral Songs at the Service
You’ll want to have music playing as people enter the service. This is the time when people may take a moment to listen to the music because it usually rather quiet as they are getting seated and the service has not yet begun. If people are giving eulogies, you may want to play songs between the eulogies so there if not that sometimes awkward pause between speakers. The music can be kept at a low volume during these times. After the service, when people are leaving you’ll want to have music again. Singing can help people feel like they are contributing to the event. I suggest if there are songs that were particularly special to your loved one that you print the lyrics in the program and suggest that people sing along. This can be an uplifting song so the service ends on an upbeat.
The songs can be incorporated into video presentations. Many people are making CD’s with photos to celebrate the life that was lived. Keep in mind, if you are putting together a multimedia presentation to show at the service, you don’t need to play the entire song. Fade the music to flow with the theme of the photos. The video presentation can be shared with attendees via CD or they can be directed to a website where they can download it. You may also want to add the song playlist to the memorial website you are putting together or to their Facebook page.
Some very nontraditional Funeral Songs
As people make their wishes known ahead of time, I’ve heard of some rather unusual funeral songs chosen such as Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by Monty Python, and “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” from “The Wizard of Oz.” Obviously you’d want to select those very carefully as not to offend family or friends of the decease however if it was their wish you can make that known and certainly lighten the mood.
As you go about choosing an appropriate song selection for the funeral you are planning, hopefully you’ll keep in mind the important role music will play in the service. You’ll choose music that truly reflects the personality and spirit of the person you loved and lost. After the service people will say, wow that service was so personal, our friend _________ would have loved the tribute we gave him/her.