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Tips on choosing music for a funeral


In many ways, the music sets the tone at a funeral for how a loved one is remembered. Whether it is to bring some peace to the hearts of the mourners or a rejoicing in the life of the deceased, the music choice should represent the emotion and sentiment the family wants their loved one to be remembered by as well as embracing the wishes of the deceased.

Choose for reflection

For some, choosing music that gives friends and family some gentle reflection is what is most important. Songs such as “How Great Thou Art” and “What a Wonderful World” can inspire the congregation to reflect on the life of the deceased and their own life as well. This music can be specifically chosen to be played after the eulogy or after a moment of silence.

Choose for comfort

A funeral is not only a time to reflect on the life of a loved one but also a time to gain comfort from being with others that are experiencing grief over loss. Choosing music to bring comfort to your own heart as well as those of the gathered friends and family can help to ease some of the sadness and grief all are feeling. Song choices like “Amazing Grace”, “Don’t Cry For Me” and “Hallelujah” give reassurance to family and friends left behind that their loved one is in a better place and okay.

Choose for celebration

Many families choose to make funeral music a celebration of their loved one’s life. The music is a direct reflection of not only the deceased but also the memories made with families and friends. You can choose the deceased’s favorite songs or choose songs that you feel capture who your loved one was, how they lived their life. These types of songs also open up the opportunity for others to speak or tell a story about why that particular song was chosen and share in their memories with all gathered at the service.

Some questions to ask when choosing funeral music:

  • Did the deceased request specific music?
  • Would the deceased like the music you are choosing?
  • Are you choosing the music that you like or music that you think the deceased would like?
  • How is the music significant to the deceased?
  • Will anyone in the congregation connect with the music?
  • What message about the deceased do you want to send?

If you still are having trouble choosing the music, don’t worry. There are other alternatives.

  • Ask a musically talented family member or friend for help. They may have a repertoire of music choices for you to choose from that they have performed in the past.
  • Ask the church for a reference. Most churches have soloists and musicians they use for services and most can accommodate what you need for a funeral service. They may also have ideas or suggestions on songs and music to play.
  • Ask about a sound system. Many funeral homes and churches have sound systems and your music can be played through the system. Download the playlist and designate a family member or close friend to play the music at the appropriate times.