Born in West Philadelphia on December 11, 1938 McCoy was lucky his mother early noticed his interest in music. As a child he was singing in the choir at Sulzberger Junior High in West Philadelphia. At the age of thirteen his mother let him decide between piano and voice lessons.
Once he decided on piano, he took practice lessons at the Philadelphia Music Center and later some theory lessons at the Granoff school of Music. That altogether took about three years.
Beatrice Tyner, his mother, was his main support at the beginning. She bought him Spinet piano at his age of 14, after saving from her earnings for a whole year.
On 1991 recording for Chesky label (JD51) “New York Reunion” McCoy dedicated composition “Miss Bea” to his mother. By the way, on this record McCoy plays with great Joe Henderson (tenor sax) for the first time after 20+ years. They are accompanied by Ron Carter (bass) and Al Foster (drums).
“It was what people called her in the neighborhood, Miss Bea. This is the first song I have dedicated to her. She was responsible for me getting interest in the piano. She played a bit herself and encouraged me greatly. I want this composition to keep her memory alive” McCoy Tyner.