How do you feel when you hear your favourite song? It’s usually a pretty euphoric feeling, right? Listening to meaningful music can also be an emotional experience, transporting us to past feelings and memories when we hear certain songs and powerful lyrics. 

The music played at a funeral can have a special meaning or connection to the deceased, but it doesn’t always have to. Choosing the right music can be a difficult decision, so we’ve put together a guide on how to create a funeral playlist.

Things to consider when creating a funeral playlist.

Here are a few considerations that might make the process a little easier.

1. Why are you making this playlist?

The “why” behind the playlist can be helpful when choosing both appropriate and meaningful songs. When will these songs play? Will it be during the service itself, or at the wake? Will the music be played in the background, or do you want it to be the focal point?

2. When the music will be played.

You also need to consider different points of the service or event where music will be required. A funeral arranger or celebrant will be able to help guide this, but consider what songs to play:

  • At the beginning as guests arrive.
  • During a photo presentation.
  • During prayers, communion or other religious considerations.
  • At the end of service or funeral procession.

3. Where the funeral will be held. 

Think about the location of the funeral or memorial. Is it at a church, or a more casual location? Does the location change the atmosphere and mood of the funeral?

If the funeral will be held at a church, think about including classical music or hymns. If the location held a special meaning to the deceased, finding sentimental or emotive music might be a good choice.

What about the mood? Is the funeral or wake focusing on mourning and grief, or is it a celebration of the deceased’s life? Mourning would be better suited to sombre songs, whereas a celebratory event would work well with upbeat, higher energy tunes.

4. Respecting the deceased’s wishes. 

Some people make decisions such as music for the funeral known before their death, either by conversation or left written in a Will. Songs may have been specified, or maybe just a general statement about the kind of music, such as celebratory and uplifting. If you are aware of any requests or wishes, it is best to respect and honour them. 

Choosing the perfect songs.

If the deceased had a strong love of music and you know their favourite artists or genres, this can make creating a playlist much easier. But maybe they liked rock music and the funeral is a sombre event, so the two don’t really go together. How can you honour your loved one with their music choice but also reflect the right mood?

If this is your predicament, you can try playing more mood appropriate music as background for the majority of the event, but if there is a special photo presentation or something similar, that can be played against their favourite songs. You could even have a few minutes of personal reflection while their favourite song plays.

What if they’re not the biggest music fan?

Sometimes your loved one may not have had a strong connection to music and families are a little lost with what music to choose. This is why we have dedicated playlists for funeral songs on Spotify where all you have to do is click and play.

If you’d rather have some inspiration to create your own playlist, you can check out our article for the best songs for funeral and memorial services

Final thoughts on funeral playlists. 

Music taste and preference is deeply personal. If the deceased has requested a song or playlist for the funeral but you as the person planning it doesn’t think the music is “funeral appropriate”, try to look at it from your loved one’s perspective. A funeral is a place to mourn or celebrate somebody’s life, so why not stick to their song choices, even if it’s not exactly traditional for a funeral?

Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t know your loved one’s music tastes or preferences; opt for crowd classic music that is generally emotive, moving, and perfect for bringing people together in this tough time. 

Finally, consider your own funeral and what this process has taught you. You can organise a prepaid funeral with Bare, or even make your funeral wishes known in your Will so your family doesn’t need to go through a similar struggle. You can give us a call at 1800 202 901.