It is such an honor to be asked to play for a funeral or memorial service. The loss of a loved one is such a sad, emotional time for the family and generally for many in attendance as well. I choose traditional, soft and comforting music for preludes and postludes, and occasionally accompany a soloist. I have been told many times that the familiar, soothing music is a comfort and that remembering the lyrics gives everyone something to reflect on as they wait for the service to begin. The traditional hymns and songs are ones that they have probably heard all of their lives, or at least when they were young. All center on the Lord where the focus should be whenever someone has died.
Yes, I usually am paid for playing for these services, but for close friends, it is my heartfelt gift to the grieving family. And I weep with them all.