Ben Riley is an acoustic and classical guitarist, composer, writer, editor, website designer and developer, and music educator with a style that is firmly grounded yet unmistakably original. Ben began his musical studies on the guitar at age thirteen, and soon after developed an enduring passion for the guitar and its music. This passion and dedication to the craft has resulted in performances at a wide variety of venues throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond.
After being homeschooled for the entirety of his school years, Ben attended Berklee College of Music’s Master Guitar Certificate Program. During his time at Berklee, Ben attended courses in jazz, blues, and rock guitar, music theory, and music business. Upon completion of his studies at Berklee, Ben studied classical guitar with Professor Glenn Sparks at Nyack College from 2014 – 2018, where he received further instruction in music theory, music history, orchestration, conducting, and music pedagogy. Ben graduated from Nyack College in 2018 with a Bachelor of Music in Classical Guitar Performance, Summa Cum Laude.
In 2019, Ben began his graduate studies in music at Hunter College – CUNY. During his studies at Hunter College, Ben attended courses in a wide variety of musical disciplines, including music theory, musicology, ethnomusicology, orchestration, musicianship, style criticism, philosophies of musical identity, and research techniques. His masters thesis, titled “Lost in Translation? A Comparison of the Anna Magdalena Bach Manuscript and John W. Duarte Arrangement of Cello Suite No. 3, BWV 1009 by Johann Sebastian Bach” is the first study of its kind to specifically compare the Anna Magdalena Bach manuscript of BWV 1009 with John W. Duarte’s guitar arrangement of the same work. Ben graduated from Hunter College in 2021 with a Master of Arts in Music Theory.
As a music educator, Ben teaches guitar, bass, mandolin, ukulele, piano, and music theory lessons privately and at Rivertown Music in Nyack, New York. Ben is also a faculty member at Westchester Community College, where he teaches courses on music theory, musicology, the guitar, and rock music. Ben greatly enjoys sharing his love of music through teaching, and believes that learning music should be fun, engaging, and personally fulfilling. As a result, Ben utilizes a student-centered approach that focuses on the unique needs and abilities of each student while also providing a strong foundation in traditional methods.
Ben is also a writer and editor, having written and edited articles on topics in the arts and humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. These articles have been published by Grey House Publishing, Life Learning Magazine, The Envoy, The Fine Print, Tipping Points Magazine, and The Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning, combining scholarly research with reflections based on personal experience. Ben has presented on topics relating to music and education at the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) Conference, the Nyack College Scholars Symposium, and the Rockland County Music Teachers Guild. Ben also completed a one year internship with the College Music Society from 2018 – 2019, where he served as content editor for their academic journal College Music Symposium. In addition, Ben writes a blog titled Classical Guitar Analysis, which chronicles his research, study and analysis of classical guitar music.