Choosing the Appropriate Funeral Music

When planning a service for a loved one it can be challenging to think about the details during your time of grief. The funeral home will often sit down with you to go over the list of items that need to be arranged, and the feeling can be overwhelming. From flowers to funeral songs, you may not know where to begin. 

You want the service to reflect the life of your loved one in a way that is meaningful. There are many different options to consider when choosing funeral music, and what is right for your family will vary greatly from what is right for another. Here are a few ways that you can come to a decision.

Consider Your Loved One’s Personality

Today, many individuals opt to have a celebration of life in lieu of a traditional funeral. Celebrations of life are generally not as somber. If this is the type of memorial you will have, consider your loved one’s favorite songs. Think about songs that meant a lot to them and songs that meant something to both of you collectively. Playing such music may bring a smile to people’s faces and can help remind them of the good times. 

Heritage and Background

It is also common for funeral music to reflect an individual’s background. For example, bagpipes are frequently played at some funerals. If your loved one’s heritage is something that was important to them, look for music that reflects that heritage. 

Favorite Artists

Think about your loved one’s favorite artists. Perhaps Frank Sinatra was one of their favorites. Look for a Frank Sinatra song that your loved one would enjoy. The songs do not have to be upbeat and happy. Many artists have songs that are more slow paced that may be appropriate for a funeral. This is another way to remember your loved one fondly and bring a sense of their personality to the service. 

For Those Who Preplanned

If you are in the process of pre-planning your funeral, or your loved one pre-planned before their passing, funeral songs may be included in the requests. For those who are currently pre-planning, the discretion is entirely up to you. Include the music or specific songs you would like played at your service in your notes, so your loved ones will know what to do when the time comes.

If your loved one pre-planned their funeral arrangements, they may have included songs or funeral music that they want played. Be sure to ask the person with the directives if there is anything noted. 

Consider the Attendees

Although considering your loved one is the most important aspect of choosing funeral music, it is also a good idea to consider the attendees. If there is a song that reminds you and your family of your loved one, it may be a good choice to play. 

You can also ask attendees if they have any songs that are meaningful to them and your loved one and include them. This is a way to bring people together while honoring the life of the person who has passed and sharing special moments with each other in a time of grief. 

If you post an online obituary with information regarding the service, there may be the option for you to enable comments. You may ask those who will attend the service to leave song suggestions in the comments, or to text or call you if they feel more comfortable. 

Popular Funeral Music

There are many traditional funeral songs of the past that you may choose from when planning a service. Asking the funeral director or planning coordinator for a list of songs that people often choose may be a great help during a time when you are having trouble focusing and making decisions as you cope with the death of a loved one. 

If you are looking for popular, more traditional funeral music, song choices often include “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler and “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan.

Others wish to play songs such as “Good Riddance” by Green Day, “I’ll Be Missing You” by Sean Combs, “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa, or “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban.

Reaching a Decision

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong funeral song selection. The music you choose can be somber and reflective, or upbeat and celebratory. The decision should be one you feel is appropriate for the setting and attendees. 

You may choose music that is centered on friendship, parenting, and other roles that your loved one had in life. Additionally, you may have to choose music to play after the funeral. If you are holding a reception afterwards, or having a gathering at the burial site. 

This is an emotionally challenging time and it can be difficult to focus on things like music while you are mourning. Ask those around you for support, ideas, and comfort.

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