Benjamin Coy



Repertoire first, routine second

March 12, 2018 at 12:07 am

I’ve recently changed the order in which I teach my lessons. I used to start most lessons (at least with younger students) by working through lip slurs and other fundamentals. By covering the technical bases first, I felt like I could already tell how their practice the previous week had gone, what issues were causing problems, […]

Interval quiz

August 5, 2017 at 2:34 am

I have built a new tool for those of us who teach introductory aural training. is a free, anonymous, browser-based interval identification practice app. A synthesized piano sound plays two notes (m2 – P8) either ascending or descending and then simultaneously. Students attempt to identify the interval and then receive immediate feedback. In case of […]

Grading art

May 28, 2017 at 11:45 pm

It’s the end of the semester. Teachers are frantically trying to get grades in on time, and students are checking their grades hoping for a high GPA. In some disciplines, grades are well understood: either you solved the equation correctly, or you didn’t. Either you did your homework, or you didn’t. These objective criteria are […]

Tackling “the difficult stuff”

December 22, 2016 at 9:00 am

Let’s face it: playing an instrument is really, really difficult. Even the “basics” that most people cover in their first year or so are a substantial challenge. Think about it: you have to master a new set of physical skills, including precise control of muscles you might not have even known were voluntary. You have to become […]