Music can be a powerful element to include in your memorial or funeral service, to make the ceremony particularly personal and meaningful. More and more people are choosing to use their own music to reflect a meaningful relationship shared with the deceased or leave listeners with a certain message.

The growing desire to personalize memorial services leads to the inclusion of less traditional music. Speak to a funeral director on the necessary arrangements to ensure the music selected will be played during the service. If you’re wondering how to select the right funeral songs, we share some pointers to help you along.

1. Keep the deceased in mind

Make it personal and think about the person you are memorializing. Did they have a few favourite songs or music genre they were fond of? Opting for songs that carry significance to the deceased can honour their memory in a better way as compared to picking from a list of standard choices. The choice of music can mean something to their life – and playing these songs can help to soothe the grief process and conjure good memories. 

2. Decide the funeral tone

Music can really help to set the tone of any event setting, including funeral services. Think about how you want to make others feel: uplifted, poignant, comforting or reminiscent? If you want a more reflective and solemn mood, the types of songs you choose will be different from the ones appropriate for a more upbeat service. You can set two different tones at the start and end of the service – attending mourners can appreciate the contrast.

3. Consider the appropriateness of the lyrics

Before you make the final decision on any funeral song, it is important to look the lyrics up or listen to them from start to end carefully. Some songs may feature lyrics that can be inappropriate for the occasion, and are not suitable to honour one’s memory with. Lyrics make for the most meaningful part of a song, so be sure you have chosen the right one.

4. Adhere to religious customs

For religious funeral services, there are religious traditions and customs that may dictate specific songs or the types of music that should be included in or excluded from the service. For example, in a Christian memorial service, many congregations can have community traditions around certain hymns or songs. You can also speak to your religious leader if you have a favourite song or hymn you wish to include and ensure your selection is appropriate.

Making your final choice 

The important thing to take note is that the music respects and honours the deceased, even if there are certain unconventional song choices added to the funeral service. Ideally, the selection should be meaningful to the deceased and help mourners reflect on the life of their lost loved one.