The Power Of Music at a Funeral

We all have a particular style of music we like, whether it be Pop, Rock, RnB, Classical, Country music, Jazz, Techno etc. this list can be endless, but there will be certain genre we each like and can relate to, what and how you embrace music is a personal thing, for some its for relaxation, for others its an escape, for many it could generate memories of time or place, again our reason for liking music are very personal.

For me I have many different genres of music that I enjoy, music for me is a way of escaping the normality of like, and thinking, drifting into the world in my own imagination, and for the duration of the song I’m somewhere else, I correlate music to places I’ve been, people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, specific moments brought back through a song or tune or even a simple lyric, certain songs trigger strong emotional thoughts, like when I hear Cheek to Cheek (I’m in heaven) by Fred Astaire, I immediately think about my late grandma and grandad dancing together, as much as it stirs emotions and sadness. I’m grateful for the moment i was given to remember and that makes me smile.

Music leaves an impression on the person that listens to it, a bond between the listener and the track, a chance to bring all those inner thoughts to the surface and for the duration of the song you are at one, just alone with your thoughts in a special place at a special moment, in a specific time, its personal and private, so when our families come into our funeral home’s to arrange a funeral, they open up and share the most intimate of details about their loved one who has passed away, giving us small snippets to better understand who the person was, who the person is, then it comes to discussing the music required, only since becoming a funeral director have I understood the importance music plays? The power and gravity of its inclusion to a funeral and the overwhelming importance to the families.

As a Funeral Director who likes to do things slightly different, there is nothing more infuriating when I attend a funeral, only to see other Funeral Directors, the moment the last track comes on, immediately dash into the chapel, quick bow to the coffin, open the doors then point the family towards the way out! No No No…… this is wrong on every level, we have absolutely no right to deny a family the chance to hear the music, they usually choose three tracks, an entry piece followed by a reflection piece, then the final closing piece the most sacred of pieces and they block them that last rite.

The music is so incredibly important chosen for specific reasons, but the last piece of music is the most important piece, this is the last connection that the family will have with the earthly remains of their loved one, it is chosen as it has the most direct impact on each and every person attending, its that song that whenever or wherever its heard, will always be linked to their loved one, hence why that song is so powerful, so important, the one that make or breaks the entire funeral, so we have no right to deny a family the opportunity to listen to it, we have no place to take away a moment that can never be gotten back, to deny a family this would be cruel, so when the last song comes on consider waiting for it to have reached half way through, walk very slowly to the catafalque, bow then open the door, stand to one side and let the track run to three quarters, before thinking of gesturing to the family to start making their way to the door, maybe consider exiting the chapel of all the other mourners first letting the family listen to that final track, but do let them.

You may think like me or you may not? but I hope the next funeral you do consider what I’ve said, don’t deny the family that last opportunity of a direct link, remember just how powerful a music track can be, stand there quietly and share that most intimate possible moment with your family, as they allow you to share with them than most beautiful of moments. Keep safe Paul 01.02.21

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