Creating a Musical Funeral

Musical funerals

If you’re a music fan, inject some soul (or smooth jazz, funk, dreamlike New Wave – whatever you prefer) into your funeral. Here’s how you can weave musical elements into a funeral to make sure it’s filled with the soundtrack to your life.

Adding music to the funeral service

From an iconic New Orleans style funeral parade to a lone clarinet-soloist, you can make a great impression en route to the church or crematorium by creating a musical procession.

During the service, there’s a lot of opportunity for musical interludes, too.

If you’re going for a church service, there’s nothing better than a coterie of gospel singers to get the congregation moving. 

If you’d like to blow the cobwebs away, opera singers and soloists are also available for hire.

It might even be possible to hire a full orchestra – try the London Symphony Orchestra, who advertise their availability.

During the reception

Why not hire musicians to play during your wake. This can be a good way of avoiding horrible hushed silences, as well as providing a backing to the inevitable tears.

You can find musicians quickly using online booking systems, or you can try calling up your favourite band or violinist.

For those with cash to spare, it might be possible to hire out your favourite music venue and hold an actual gig.

Price for live singers and bands/even the LSO: £150-£3,000

Staging your funeral on a budget

While for some the apex of musical ecstasy might be hiring out the 02 and getting in their favourite rock star to lead the national anthem in their honour, for others it might mean a karaoke machine.

PA sound systems are easy to find, set up and take down. For either the service, the reception or both, you can play tunes cheaply.

If you can’t get your favourite band in, tribute bands are usually much cheaper, for better or worse.

If you can’t get a traditional brass band in, you could settle for hiring a record player or gramophone to go out to the sound the old classics.

Working musicians, session musicians and self employed musicians may be willing to play at funerals. Ask around.

Keeping the music in the family

If your granddaughter is a great electric guitar player, or your nephew knows his way round a cello, you could get them in.

Or perhaps your whole family dabbles in attempting to sing in tune around pianos. Give them their first gig.

Price for a PA system: up to £200