How To Teach Songwriting to Your Piano Students

So your piano student wants to write their own music. How can you help them?

How To Teach Songwriting to Your Piano Students

(Psst! Scroll down to the end for the free download of the TopMusicMag: Songwriting Special)

Knowing how to teach songwriting to your piano students can be a head-scratching task.

✔ You understand music theory

✔ You’re comfortable with chords

✔ You’ve listened to songs (albeit songs from your era – but you know of Taylor Swift, and you think you’ve heard a student talk about someone called Olivia Rodrigo…)

But how do you go about writing a song?

Table of Contents:

  1. Start With Pop Songs
  2. Introduce Your Students To The Art Of Composing
  3. Let’s Get Songwriting
  4. TopMusicMag: Songwriting Special (Free Download)

Start With Pop Songs

If students want to write their own songs, the first step is knowing how to play existing pop songs.

This will help them

  1. Appreciate how pop songs are structured
  2. Understand chord progressions
  3. Discover what they like and dislike (this will help them formulate ideas for their song)

These articles and podcast episodes demonstrate different areas of teaching and learning pop songs on the piano:

How to Choose the Right Pop Song to Teach Your Students

How to Create a Piano Lead Sheet from Any Song

How to Build Essential Musicianship with Pop Songs Students Love

CPTP107: How to Simplify and Teach a Pop Song by Ear

Introduce Your Students to the Art of Composing

What’s the difference between a composer and a songwriter?

A composer writes music, and a songwriter writes music and lyrics.

To start students off on their songwriting journey, introduce them to composing.

Once they’ve grasped composition, you can ease them into the next step of songwriting.

These articles and podcast episodes will inspire you to develop a plan for helping your piano students learn the art of composing:

How to Get Your Beginner Piano Students Composing Music

The Power of 4 Chord Composing

Composition Kickstarters: 5 Ways to Inspire Your Students to Write Music

8 Simple Steps to Create a Group Piano Composition

From Improvisation to Composition: How to Nurture Your Students’ Creativity

TC209: Christopher Oill Teaches Tim Composing *LIVE*

Let’s Get Songwriting

Your students have mastered playing pop songs.

They’ve dabbled with composition.

Now, they want to move on to songwriting and add lyrics to their melodies.

There are three fantastic podcast episodes for you to listen to:

305: How to Teach Songwriting to Music Students with Simon Rushby

CPTP171: How to Teach Piano Songwriting with Lisa Donovan Lukas

TC198: Broadway Composer Andrew Gerle on the Art of Songwriting

TopMusicMag: Songwriting Special

To help you help your piano students write their own songs, we’ve collated articles, tips, ideas, and interviews into a songwriting special edition of the TopMusicMag

Download your free copy:

Tim Topham

Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular Integrated Music Teaching Podcast, blogs regularly at and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as integrated teaching, creativity, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.

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