When creating a Great Goodbye, the only music that’s inappropriate are tunes that have nothing to do with the one you’re remembering.
The music they loved says so much about them – the era they lived in, what moved them, what brought them joy. Music is one of the easiest most profound ways to personalise a funeral or memorial; the right song can transport people back to special places and times.
Music might be something to talk about with someone before their death. You might be surprised to find they have a deeply personal attachment to a particular piece. These topics are never easy to broach, but a chat about their favourite songs could open conversations about a raft of important things.
It’s a good idea to consider certain pieces for specific moments during the service. What music could work as the casket arrives? Or when it leaves? If there’s a photo and video montage onscreen, it can be moving to have music playing while people watch and remember.
Live music can be magical. A solo guitar or a live band; maybe gospel singers or the school choir. You could play brassy classics in a garden setting, or bring on the bagpipes when it’s time to open a bottle of scotch!
Despite the sadness, don’t underestimate the ability of people to step up and perform live at the service. For many, the chance to offer one final gift will be significant. These live moments are often the most profound at a Great Goodbye.
"If you want music to be a definite touchstone at your Great Goodbye, print off song sheets so everyone can sing their hearts out."
Music at the wake
If you’re hosting a wake afterwards, use music to help people connect and remember. The soundtrack of a favourite band might trigger a story about a live concert someone attended with the deceased. And if you want music to be a definite touchstone at your Great Goodbye, print off song sheets so everyone can sing their hearts out.