Nobby Levels 1-3

Samantha's dog Nobby drinks in a steady 7/8 time. You can play this piece along with him!

4 HATS = Late Elementary: approx. 18 months - 2 years of lessons

We love our gorgeous labradoodle, whose name is Nobby (short for Norbert, named after Hagrid’s pet dragon 😊).

Anyway, my husband Andrew has always noticed that Nobby drinks in a steady 7/8 rhythm. One day I decided to video him drinking, and he happened to be so thirsty that he drank for 16 bars straight!

I had a friend of mine edit this into a sound track with drums accompanying, and then a video together with a recording of myself playing an exceprt of Sonny Chua’s ‘Midnight Snack’, a fast piece in 7/8 time. It went together beautifully and this ‘Nobby Drinks’ video went a little viral amongst dog lovers on Facebook!

I thought it might be fun for students to play a piece in 7/8 with Nobby. Since Midnight Snack is quite a tricky little intermediate piece, I decided to write a more simple late-elementary piece that could be played along with Nobby’s slurps.

As per the whole Rote Repertoire series, it is written in three levels, with the idea being to learn Level 1 by rote, and then to use a ‘spot the difference’ approach when comparing the Level 2 and Level 3 scores.

In this pack there is pdf sheet music, audio backing tracks (slowed to 75% for ease of playing), and a copy of that cute little viral video.

I wrote a few different versions of Nobby pieces, and these bonus pieces will be uploaded from time to time. Check the pack contents regularly. We hope you enjoy it!

What’s in this Rote Repertoire Pack?

  • Downloadable pdf sheet music for Levels 1, 2 and 3 (studio licensed)
  • Audio of Nobby drinking
  • Audio of drum backing track
  • Audio files of the piano pieces
  • Sample of Nobby's viral video
  • BONUS pieces coming soon!

General FAQ

Which of the three Levels do I give to which students?

All three levels are important for every student! The point of this series is to develop sight reading skills through repertoire, so it is the process of getting from Level 1 to Level 3 that is important. It’s all explained in the Quick Start Teacher Guide, but here’s a super quick summary:

  1. Teach Level 1 by rote, then show the score.
  2. Compare Level 2 score, discuss differences before playing.
  3. Same for Level 3. By this time students are scanning and reading!

Are these pieces only for young beginners?

Not at all! These pieces are also perfect for adult students, returning pianists, older beginners, any students who haven’t practiced that week, any students who need sight reading exercises, and pianists who need short, appropriate pieces to play while they recover from injury.

This series is also a perfect complement to your repertoire-rich learning approach, such as the 40-piece challenge. It also gives you repertoire you can use for weekly challenges and weekly achievable goals for your students.

For intermediate and advanced students these pieces provide instant activities in the lesson that cover aural, sight reading, memorisation, improvisation and composition, PLUS students get to go home playing something they love!

Why are the pieces in complicated keys?

The keys are chosen based on physical comfort, not a level of theoretical understanding. They look complicated on the page but they are very easy to play. C major might be easy to read but it is actually a very awkward key in terms of technique! The idea is not to get too caught up in the notation, but rather to be able to play great sounding music with a comfortable hand position. This is outlined in the Quick Start Teacher Guide.

Which age group do these pieces appeal to?

Every piece in the Rote Repertoire series is manageable for pianists in their first two years of learning. The contemporary style appeals to all ages. Some pieces are more suited to slightly older beginners e.g. 7-9 year olds. Adult students and teenagers love them as quick study pieces!

I don’t have many beginners. Can I use these pieces for all my students?

Absolutely! More experienced pianists will pick up these pieces really quickly which aids a repertoire-rich approach, and all intermediate and advanced pianists can use them as a super-quick sight reading exercise in the lesson!

Can I send the pieces to my students?

Yes! Each piece is studio licensed so that you can send the pdf sheet music and the audio files to your students. The only thing you can’t send is the video content – this is not downloadable.

Are the repertoire packs graded according to difficulty?

We’ve created a guide to help teachers and students. Each repertoire pack has been allocated up to four ‘hats’ to indicate a certain level. Please keep in mind that this does not mean an early elementary piece can only be played by a beginner; an intermediate student will thoroughly enjoy it as a quick sight-reading exercise!

Early Elementary

= Early Elementary: from first lesson up to six months


= Early to Mid Elementary: 6-12 months of lessons

Late Elementary

= Mid to Late Elementary: 12-18 months of lessons

Early Intermediate and Beyond

= Late Elementary: 18 months – 2 years+

Please remember these categories are a guide only – you are the best judge of your students’ capabilities.

What’s in the Video Tutorials?

The videos contain a performance of each level, a demonstration of how to teach it by rote and an explanation of the main teaching points. Samantha describes the reasoning and philosophy behind the fingering, register and articulation, as well as discussing general technique such as hand shape and strategies to avoid twisting.

You’ll see the differences in the score between the three levels and an overview of how each level builds on the previous one.

In every pack there is a bonus ‘Level 4 Ideas’ video where Samantha suggests ways in which students can create their own composition based on Levels 1-3.

I’m not sure about this approach. Where can I find out more?

Download your FREE Quick Start Teacher Guide here. Also, here are some fantastic videos and articles all about the benefits of rote teaching:

Why does it say 0% - 100% viewed and what does this mean?

This doesn’t affect your access at all, it is simply part of the technology platform we are currently using. You will always have access with a pack purchase or a valid membership, no matter what the percentage display is.

How much does a BlitzBooks Rote Repertoire membership cost per student?

Use our Cost Per-Student Calculator

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Samantha Coates
Samantha Coates

Samantha Coates is an internationally renowned author, presenter and pedagogue. She is an Australian pianist and teacher with over three decades of experience in both private and group piano tuition. She is also the creator of BlitzBooks, a music education series that has brought fun and laughter to the areas of music theory, instrumental technique and sight reading. Now with the new release of her Rote Repertoire Series, she hopes to revolutionise the approach to rote learning and reinvent the pathways to efficient sight reading.

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