• Glynis Woodhead

My exit, my way!

Musical taste is such a personal thing – we all have Marmite songs – we either love them or hate them. And much the same can be said for the musical choices of our family and friends. If we all loved the same music, things could get pretty boring really quickly. But what if you had to choose the songs for your ultimate farewell ceremony? Among your favourites, are there songs that you think most represent your life, your attitudes and personality?

As more and more people opt for celebrant-led funerals where music plays a crucial role in the ceremony, the range of music being played at those ceremonies grows ever greater. Gone are the days of a fairly low-key classical piece being played at appropriate points, and instead, you’ll hear a huge variety of music being played.

There are typically three pieces of music which will be played at any funeral ceremony – one as the family enters, the second which is for a reflective period, and the third is played at the end and as mourners leave.

There are the absolute classical favourites – beautiful pieces such as Barber’s Adagio for Strings (which you’ll know as soon as you hear it, even if you don’t recognise the name), and Elgar’s Nimrod (the one you always hear played on Remembrance Sunday). And, of course, there are popular, but more relatively recent songs such as Angels, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and the ubiquitous My Way.


But many people opt for much livelier, and often, light-hearted music – especially for the end of the ceremony: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life; Bring me Sunshine; and Another One Bites the Dust. Your choices should say something about you, especially for the reflection piece where people are thinking about you. One elderly lady absolutely adored football and wanted the music for the reflection part of her funeral to be kept as a surprise. When the theme tune from Match of the Day began, the mourners loved it because it absolutely epitomised who their friend was.

Three little pieces – that’s all – and yet the decisions over those three pieces can cause huge amounts of angst. Would your family actually be able to choose three pieces which are really appropriate for you if the worst happened? When asked whether their loved ones liked music, families often confirm that they did, but many can’t actually pin down what their tastes really were and end up choosing music they like instead.

So, if you want your exit to be done your way, what will you choose?


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