The Oxford Dictionary defines music as “vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony and expression of emotion”
Music can affect ones mood – be it to uplift, depress, soothe, calm or reassure. And let’s face it – we are all so different that what one person may love, may drive another completely mad. It is personal!
I have had the privilege of conducting some really amazing funeral ceremonies & life celebrations in recent weeks, and one thing struck me – people seem to get quite awkward, for want of a better word, about their music choices when we plan these ceremonies – that is until they realise I am not conformist I suppose.
They realise that this really is about the person who has gone, and in my book that means choosing what reflects them! What made that person happy, who was their favourite artist, or was it just something about the lyrics of a particular song that resonated with them in life, did they love to dance? Did they love the classics? Well why not celebrate that link to them, as we pay final tribute to them.
I have actively taken to encouraging the families I work with, to take their time choosing musical pieces that accurately reflect those whose lives they are celebrating. This has resulted in music that truly celebrates those who have died – and leaves those who are dealing with that loss, somehow lighter and more at ease as they bid them farewell.
I have escorted coffins in to tunes like Jive Bunny and the Master Mixers singing In the swing; an a Capella group singing “Wonderful World; a soloist singing Ave Maria. I have had Gonzo from the Muppets singing “My Way” as a quiet (a-hem) interlude, and so much more – and each and every time the family and friends leave, sorrowful yes, but enriched by the experience.
I believe what I am getting at here is this – today the rules are made to be broken, there is no right, no wrong, no “you can only have this” or “you can’t have that”, there is nothing that says we have to conform to societal norms. If we can dance and sing and enjoy music in life – so it should be in death, or in celebration of that life gone before.