From the time we first connect with music, it becomes a part of us. Many people have a wrap sheet of the songs that influence their moods, and remind them of some of the best moments in their lives. Many of us also learn to play instruments as children or love to sing and learn the lyrics to our favourite songs.
Music holds our memories for us and gives us the chance to revisit them when we hear that familiar song. It's incredibly powerful. In some ways, our songs of choice tell a story about our lives.
That’s why a funeral playlist doesn’t need to be a morbid topic of discussion. In fact, exploring potential songs for a funeral can be an insightful experience for our loved ones, full of opportunities to celebrate all the ups and downs of our colourful lives.
Almost everyone we’ve spoken to has had at least one song that was to be played in their memory. In our friendship circles, we’ve had conversations over a coffee that revolve entirely around the songs we’d love played for our funeral - it’s almost the only factor that is conversational.
Have you considered your what you would put on your own funeral playlist?
Why build a funeral playlist?
Remember the movie Love Actually? It’s one example of when a funeral playlist has played a major role in the schedule of the funeral.
Whether you would like to build your own playlist of traditional classics, or more contemporary and personal songs, building your own funeral playlist can really help those in mourning to celebrate the life you lived. Furthermore, simply taking the time to reflect on the music that resonates most within can be an insightful experience.
To help you choose music for a funeral, we’ve compiled a few tips below for getting started.
Where to begin
The days have passed where every funeral was accompanied by classical hymns as a matter of course. Whether you’re into these religious hymns or more of an alternative rock fan, pre-selecting the music to be played at your memorial service makes for a touching way of connecting with your loved ones.
Turn to your childhood
Some of us look to the movies of way back when and remember tunes woven into our childhoods and youth. Eva Cassidy’s ‘Over The Rainbow’ along with Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ are beautiful songs for a funeral.
Love told through lyrics
For those seeking tales of love told through lyrics, Van Morrison’s ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You’ and a cover of ‘God Only Knows’ by John Legend and Cynthia Erivo are two options.
Back to the classics
Others look to classics with lyrics that echo with life, such as these favourite tunes from The Beatles: ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Here Comes The Sun’
While contemplating the chorus to accompany their precious moments post life, many more choose uplifting tunes that whisper of hope. Some beautiful songs for a funeral include ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ by Gerry and The Pacemakers and 'My Way' by Frank Sinatra. In many ways, a funeral is a celebration of a life. In many ways Sinatra's song is an ode to life well lived.
Beyond the music: other considerations
We’ve helped many Australians with their post life preparations, and a lot of them choose other ways to personalise a memorial for themselves or their loved ones. Some prepare slideshows, photos or even videos sharing snapshots of a life well lived. This can be played in tandem alongside the music soundtrack you’ve selected for your service.
Then there are the more fundamental questions. While many have an idea of their preferred funeral music, you’d be surprised by how many people haven’t thought in advance about where they’d like their service to be held!
There are quite a few options for most basic of questions: would you prefer a funeral service in your home? A graveside service? Or wake, visitation or gathering, before or after the cremation or burial? With a preplanned and prepaid funeral, the choice is yours to make — alleviating the stress of that decision from your family.
Other things you may like to give thought to include whether there are any poems, readings or prayers that resonate with you. Consider whether you’d like to be shared with your guests – and who would be your pick to deliver them. You may also consider asking people to donate to a charity or a cause you care about in your memory instead of bringing flowers.
And then there are the guests. Do your loved ones know everyone you’d like to attend your funeral, or could there be a few old friends that have for whatever reason you’ve lost touch with over the years? Preparing a list of their contact details in advance will make all the difference.
Don’t stop yet
No one likes to think about the end, but when the time comes, it’s helpful for your loved ones to have a plan for your wishes. It could be as simple as taking 5 minutes to write down what you’re ideal scenario would be in an email and sending it to the person that would oversee the arrangements. If you’re feeling like you’d like to put a plan in place to take care of both the planning and the expense of a funeral, then preplanning your own funeral is a good option for you.
If you’d like in-depth advice on the other steps involved in planning a personalised service for yourself or a loved one, see our Life Celebration guide below. If you have any questions, our team of funeral directors are always on hand to help you arrange your ceremony – reach out to us at anytime.