CPTP171: How to Teach Piano Songwriting with Lisa Donovan Lukas

Have you thought about incorporating songwriting into your students’ piano lessons but just don’t know how or where to start? 

Lisa Donovan Lukas, author of The Young Musician’s guide to Songwriting shares valuable lessons from her book on her process to encourage both teachers and students to use their creativity and explore songwriting.

Lisa Donovan Lukas

Aside from being a composer, lyricist and lifelong pianist, Lisa maintains an active piano studio where she enjoys teaching piano, music composition and songwriting. Listen and learn tips for teaching songwriting to your budding composers.

Today’s Free Download

Download the songwriting powerpack to kick-off this style of teaching in your studio (or to help you explore this in your own practice).


If you’d like to download a PDF transcript of this episode, please click below.

In this episode, you’ll learn

  • 07:29 – Lisa’s background.
  • 08:20 – Lisa’s journey as a student and teacher.
  • 12:31 – The importance of creativity in her lessons and teaching.
  • 13:44 – Getting space and using the world around you to get inspiration.
  • 15:27 – Why teachers should consider unpacking songwriting with their students.
  • 16:38 – How songwriters have stronger skills in lyrics, melody or chords than others and how you can build where you are weaker.
  • 18:43 – Lisa’s reason for writing her book: The Young Musician’s Guide to Songwriting.
  • 19:55 – Who can benefit from the lessons in the book?
  • 20:49 – Can students who work through Lisa’s process be all-rounders and create songs from scratch?
  • 21:40 – A peek at how Lisa conducts her lessons.
  • 22:55 – Beginning the process of songwriting with students.
  • 26:43 – Using progressions in songwriting and how the 4 Chord Composing can work with this.
  • 29:48 – Encouraging students to sing their compositions.
  • 31:12 – Working with scales in melodies.
  • 32:10 – Lisa shows and demonstrates an example of a student’s free-writing.
  • 37:44 – Is it important for students to notate the final composition?
  • 38:36 – Using Garageband when working on songwriting with students.
  • 39:37 – Do teachers need to be good and experienced singers or songwriters to teach this to their students?
  • 40:16 – More information on the free download: Lyrics and Rythm
  • 42:49 – Tips from Lisa on Songwriting.

Links Mentioned

Today’s Sponsor

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Thank you for Tuning In!

There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, and I’m grateful that you’ve chosen mine. Whether you’re at the gym, on the bike or in the car, I know that you and your students will get lots out of what you learn in the long run. Just make sure you try out some of the ideas before they get lost in the business of your next lessons! If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons on the left of the page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes or on my Facebook page. Reviews are extremely helpful when it comes to show’s ranking and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally. Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live.

Do you teach songwriting to your students?

How do you go about it? What benefits have you seen in developing their creativity?

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