Types of Musicians to Hire for a Funeral

Types of Musicians to Hire for a FuneralOne of the most time-honored parts of planning a funeral is choosing what kind of music you’d like to have played for the service. Evoking the right mood and playing favorites of the deceased is a great way to make a funeral memorable without huge costs, and it adds a personal touch that is both respectful and appropriate.

Music at funerals is often played in the background as people arrive and depart. It can also be used as a part of the service or to accompany the casket being lowered into the ground. Some families also have music playing during the funeral luncheon or reception. However you choose to set the stage is up to you.

While selecting songs and playing them on an iPod or sound system is perfectly acceptable, you can also take things one step further by hiring live musicians. Here is a list of the most common types of funeral musicians and what they add to the service.

Types of Musicians to Hire for a Funeral
  • Bagpipe Player: Bagpipes are traditionally associated with ‘Amazing Grace’ and the casket being lowered into the ground.
  • Bugler: Popular for military funerals, a bugler is typically only used when the deceased is being buried with full honors. Like bagpipes, this is common at the cemetery.
  • Harpist: A harp makes great background music before or after the service. Light and inoffensive, it’s also commonly associated with churches and the afterlife.
  • Pianist: Pianists are some of the most common musicians at funerals. Because they can cover everything from traditional hymns to pop songs, a good pianist is versatile enough for most funeral music needs.
  • Violinist: There is something haunting about a single violin playing, which makes it good for background music at a funeral. For something more elaborate, consider a string quartet.
  • Organist: Like a piano, the organ is commonly associated with religion and ceremony. Although it’s difficult to have an organ brought in to a funeral home, many churches have them already in place.
  • Vocalist: Vocalists are a great way to bring the deceased’s favorite songs to life during the funeral service. Be wary of having a friend or relative sing, however, as it’s common for anyone who knew the deceased to break down in the middle of a song. Hire outside of the family instead.
  • Choir: A full choir is a great way to infuse a little activity into a funeral. Church groups and school choirs tend to work best in this setting.
  • Guitarist: A guitar is versatile enough to perform solo in the background or to take center stage and showcase some of the deceased’s favorite songs.
  • Full Band: Although you have to get the right sound equipment for a full band to play, you can celebrate the life of the deceased with music and even dancing. This is usually best for the funeral luncheon or a gathering at a bar or restaurant later in the evening.

Music has a way of soothing troubles and helping us get in touch with our emotions. Make your loved one’s funeral memorable by trying one of these live musicians.


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