Thursday, June 7, 2012

PPP- Prepare/ Practice

Within the Kodaly Philosophy there is an order of teaching- Prepare, Present, Practice (or PPP).  Each is Very important to a child learning a new melodic or rhythmic concept.  We make sheets called "PPP sheets" which, using 5 songs, take us through the process of each of these three stages of learning.  This can be applied to any concept- music or not.   Obviously, a teacher will use more than 5 songs to prepare a song, but these sheets are great starting points for ideas :)

When preparing (and practicing) a concept a teacher needs to use Physical, Visual, and Aural activities to ensure that all types of learners are involved and getting it.   The trick for prep is that it is never named in the prep stage.  Student may call a new note High (as in high do or la) or low (as in do, low la, or low so) or even new (for those in-between notes like re, fa, and ti).  The same goes with rhythms- starting with long and short, or finding words that have the same amount of syllables (such as al-li-gat-or for tika tika or blueberry for ti-tika).  Students learn to discover the note and how it fits into their already made schemas.  Is the rhythm more sounds for 1 beat, or more than 1 beat to one sound?  Is the note a step, skip, or leap away from notes already known?

 I prep until about 90% of my students are ready to move on.  This comes quicker for rhythmic concepts.  I try to present at least 2 new rhythmic elements and 2 new melodic elements a year- along with other musical terms like up beat, 1st and 2nd endings, tempo markings, dynamics, etc.

Once the concept is presented all activities can be the same- the melodic or rhythmic concept is now just named!  

I typically split a prep/ practice lesson into one rhythmic concept and one melodic unless they are really close to presentation for one or the other.  Always have a pivot song that has both the R and M concept in it so that your lessons flows smoothly from one to the other.  An example lesson is posted below :) 

Ways that I prep concepts physically include: 

Hand signs (point up or down for the high or low note)
Ghost notes- showing the melodic contour in the air
Hand Staff- fingers are the lines :)
Body Staff- So is shoulders, waist is mi, do is knees, etc. 
Solfa Ladder- students must point on individual ladders for this to be physical

Doing body percussion- a different movement on each type of rhythm (clap on ta, snap on ti-ti, stomp on tika tika, etc) 
Stepping ONLY on the new type of rhythm
Moving on all BUT the new type of rhythm 

Ways I prep concepts Visually include:

Magnets on a staff (late prep)
Line Graph (map out the contour of the song) 
Flash cards (with arrows or question marks where the new note is) 
Word cards- students move them to match the contour of the song
Solfa Ladder- teacher or one student points 

Replace the rhythm with either dots (to show short sounds) or lines (to show longs sounds) 
Flash Cards
        Plain Old Flashcards
        Missing Rhythms on board
        Putting a song in order 
Word Cards- students listen and put words or syllables into Big Heart Beats
Manipulatives (popsicle sticks, bingo chips, etc) 

When I prep concepts Aurally I do things such as: 

T sings two patterns- one with the concept, and one without- students ID 
T sings pattern or song- Students ID new melody or rhythm with a pre-desigated motion
T sings on loo- students echo, then sing or say using solfa or rhythm syllables
Students move word cards/ magnets to show contour of a song
T sings and students place word cards/ magnets into large beat hearts
Students sing all the words of a song EXCEPT the new concept 
T (or SMARTboard) plays and example- students match it to one of three or four choices
           Worksheet with same idea
S-L-M or poison patter
           Game of Teacher vs. Class- T identifies a poison pattern (with new element in it) that students have to listen for and NOT repeat.

Example Prep and Practice lesson- 3rd Grade, Prep High Do' and Practice Tika Tika

   Grade: 3
 Number: 9
Focus: practice tika tika, prep do’
Behavioral Objectives: Students are engaged and having fun!
Activity Types: Read_x_ Write__  Partwork_x_  Form_x_  Improv _x_  Move_x_ 
                          Listen__ Instruments__ solo singing _x_

Materials: Math Clock Manipulative    Jazz Pizz GP chart
                  Flash Cards 


2 min            SING SONGS in LESSON (chicken, tideo, tick-tock)

4 min            Sung Greeting dddd dd mr m s

8 min            Chicken on a Fence Post
                        Sing song- Students ID from greeting
                        Students come up with excuses – same rhythm! Tricky!
                        Play Game

3 min            Tika-Tika jjjq Flashcards  or SMARTboard what rhythm do you hear?
                        Go through a few flashcards
                        End with pattern on board for Jazz Pizzicato
15 min            Jazz Pizzicato
                        Read C rhythm from board – Tika Tika!
                        Listen and Dance as In Game Plan Grade 3 (movements for A B and C sections)
                         Discuss CODA

10 min            Tideo- Pivot
                        Make C part of Jazz Pizz an ostinato as T sings new song  and students move back to seats
                        Figure out song, sing on Solfa
                        Play Remote Game- word, solfa, and off channels
6 min            S-L-M
                        Play a round of s-l-m to practice HIGH do

5 min            Eyes of Blue (from Kodaly Context pg 247)
                        Sing song
                        Teach by rote
                        Look for do’

What are some other songs we have with HIGH in them?  Sing all mentioned- lead to Tick Tock!

3 min            TICK TOCK
                        Sing song – point out HIGH notes
                        A few clock times- have a math clock manipulative 

Any other ways you prepare or practice a concept? 


  1. Sometimes, for me, getting students the music they want entails me transcribing a particular pop song for them, that involves a lot of decisions for me about trying to be true to the original melody so the students can play along with the track (key, rhythm, register, etc) or transpose the piece to an easier key and with a simplified rhythm which will enable them to play it more easily. Sometimes giving them a very difficult transcription which is clearly beyond their current abilities is an excellent motivator, and sometimes it isnt, every student is a unique individual who responds to a wide range of positive or negative reinforcements- some will rise to the challenge and work their butts off to be able to conquer the piece and some will curl up in a little tearful ball and quit. One parent came up with an excellent motivator for her daughter (who was a very commercially minded girl), she paid her $5 for every day that she practiced on her own for 30 minutes or more- but at the end of the week the child had to pay for her lesson herself. Pretty quickly the student realized that if she practiced 7 days a week she would be turning a $10 profit weekly, and promptly doubled her efforts at home. Everyone is different, and part of our job as teachers is learning what makes each pupil tick, and helping them develop good discipline which will reward them with a wealth of achievements, both in music and life. This is the way we do it at my studio, anyway​

  2. Is there a source for Tick Tock aside from Kodaly in the Classroom? I have most of the folk song books and thus have most of the other songs, but I'm not familiar with this one. Thanks!

    1. It is in the Simple Gifts Resource Book 1. It is also sometimes called Ding Dong (but it is not the same Ding Dong as in the 150 Rounds Book).