The beautiful thing about music is that it belongs to all of us. Couples have their songs; events are distinguishable by something that was playing in the background at that particular time; you hear a song or a piece of music and it might make you think of somebody who is no longer with us. A favourite song or piece of music is made all the more significant because we associate them with memories.
That’s why the choice of music at a funeral is so important. While the memories that flow from music can bring out all of our emotions, it can also be cathartic and healing. Music can release emotional blocks. A piece of music played at a funeral might forevermore be associated with a person that we loved.
So with all of the preparations that go into a funeral service, music is just another. However it’s probably one of the most important. It may be the enduring memory of a life lived well and a person much loved. Like everything, a funeral service requires a budget but music sits outside the budget unless we are hiring musicians to play and even then, you may find somebody within a church community, for instance, whose services are either inexpensive or free.
How to choose appropriate music
Faith based music or traditional funeral songs are synonymous with religious ceremonies for obvious reasons. Many people believe in a life after death and choices made by the family should always be respected. Families with specific religious and cultural beliefs find comfort in music that extols the virtues of their faith. It also seems appropriate that music should reflect the environment. That’s not to say that music shouldn’t be secular or at times stray from the faith of the departed, but it should always be respectful, solemn and where possible, uplifting. Some churches or places of worship will be particular about the choice of music so it is something that you should discuss in the course of making your arrangements.
What would your loved one have wanted?
You will want the music to reflect your loved one’s wishes, personality, taste and achievements. They may well have left instructions if they had a pre-paid funeral plan. If they did then those wishes need to be honoured. If they haven’t chosen any music then you should think carefully about what they enjoyed, what best describes or exemplifies their life, and the feelings or memories that you would like to leave with those who are attending.
You should listen to your choices prior to the funeral and maybe run it by somebody else as well. You can hit the wrong note with poor or distasteful lyrics, music that is unnecessarily aggressive or humour that is too obscure – not that humour is a bad thing as long as it’s tasteful. Above all else, funerals should be respectful, solemn occasions but that doesn’t preclude you from having a bit of appropriate fun.
The best funeral directors will help you with your music choices. Funeral services in Sydney take many different forms and you can find inspiration for music in many different places.
Southern Cross Funeral Directors are dedicated to supporting you with your choices in music and other plans at this very difficult time. Please don’t hesitate to call our staff if we can be of assistance:
Sydney Central: 9529 6644
Macarthur: 4628 3025
Central Coast: 4397 2120
Greater West: 9632 3900