In the same way, Kodály believed that children should be exposed to musical concepts before putting a label or symbol to that idea. With this in mind, he developed the "3 P's" that form the basis of his educational method.
Prepare: In the preparation stage, students are "immersed" in the music. They learn songs, chants, singing games, dances, etc. that use the concepts they will eventually be labeling. Depending on the difficulty of the concept, the preparation stage can take anywhere from a few classes to a few months.
Present: Once students are able to perform a concept satisfactorily (along with its preceding concepts), we label it in the present stage. This is where we use a song that we've been singing for several classes to "discover" the new concept. This stage only takes about 5-10 minutes.
Practice: After the students have become aware of a new concept, they start learning how to use it in the practice stage. At this point, they use the concept in singing, listening, reading, writing, dictation (hearing something and writing it out, sort of like a spelling test), composing (creating music by planning it out), and improvising (making up music on the spot). As with the preparation stage, the practice stage can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the complexity of the concept. Music always spirals back and builds on itself, however, so even after we've officially finished the practice stage for a particular concept, we revisit it frequently as we learn to use more complex concepts (similar to the way you would still use addition in more complicated math equations).
With this model, in any given lesson, the students are preparing, practicing, and revisiting a variety of concepts, but they are only made consciously aware of the concepts that are being presented or practiced in that lesson. When we follow these steps, the students seem to be more engaged, and they have a more meaningful music experience that I hope will stay with them long after they leave my classroom.