The Practice Cake Assignment Sheet

Have you ever heard of “The Practice Cake?”

The analogy was first brought to my attention by Dr. Lori Rhoden, who I studied with in the graduate piano pedagogy program at Ball State.

Recently, I saw an article on The Practice Cake and it made me remember that I have an assignment sheet that is based on this idea!

It’s a simple idea really, but a great visual for how to teach students to build their practice.

1) Rhythm and notes/fingering

2) Articulation

3) Dynamics and tempo

4) Pedal

The image is flip-flopped, however, like a layer cake! The foundation is the rhythm/notes/fingering the top of the cake is the pedal. You can’t get to the top unless you have the foundation!

One of the assignment sheets I created in my early “assignment-sheet-creating” days included a small image as such.

However, after a reader asked if I could tweak it because it looked like *that* emoji, yeah, you know, the poop emoji, I decided to simply switch the analogy to a stairstep. (I was working from Microsoft Word, and didn’t know about things like Canva at the time, OK? 🙂 LOL)

It doesn’t really matter the graphic, right? The idea is the same.

If you like the idea of having an image as such on your student’s assignment sheet each week, check out Assignment Sheet #15: Practice Steps 2 on Assignment Sheet Central or just download it right here!


Interested in reading a little more on this idea?

Check out this article by Chrissy Ricker on  The Practice Cake: A “sweet” approach to teaching beginners how to practice



  • I do like this assignment sheet; however, on the assignment sheet I created, I have my students keep track of the time they practice during the week with a place for the parent/s signature. None of these sheets Have a space for that. I know that many teachers will say “It’s the quality, not the quantity.” But, I have found that if I give my students a guide as to how much they should be practicing for their level, they really try to reach that goal. Thank you for sharing so many tips, both teaching and non-teaching related. I love reading your blog!

    • Hi, Diane! Thanks for taking the time to comment and for your kind words! I’m with you that giving them a guide as to how much practice time they should be doing at their level is good and I talk about that in policies and throughout the year but always felt it was too much information to include those details on an assignment sheet. That’s just me though! 🙂

      Half of the assignment sheets on Assignment Sheet Central have a place where students can track their time, but yes, not all. Personally, I found getting a parent signature over the years to never work so yes, I don’t have a place for that, but many of the sheets have a place for comments or parent/teacher notes that could be used for a signature area. I think on most of the assignment sheets where I don’t have an area for time it’s either because 1) it’s for very young students and I like doing stickers for each day and/or item practiced 2) I had the students checking off each item practiced daily or 3) it was a more bare-bones assignment sheet for adults.

      Anyway, now you know why I have 21 sheets – always trialing new ways to see what worked best, ha! Thanks for the feedback!

      • Thanks, Amy, for your quick response after being sick for the last couple of days. I appreciate your thoughts. I, too, have revised and redone assignment sheets for my students over the years. I like having the parents sign the sheet because then I know that what has been recorded is accurate – usually. Also, it makes parents become a piece of the practice puzzle and it makes the student realize that their parent/s do care and that piano lessons are being provided by the parent/s. Anyway, I am going to be revising my assignment sheets again for next school year thanks to all your input. Here’s wishing you a healthy weekend.

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