Nicholas Bannan's earliest musical experience was as a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral. He went on to study Music at Cambridge University, where he specialised in vocal studies and composition. He has taught in several schools, including Eton College and the Yehudi Menuhin School. He was Director of Music at Desborough School, Maidenhead, where the choir he conducted was in demand to work with London orchestras and made frequent broadcasts on television and radio.
His interests as an educator focused increasingly on means of releasing children's creativity, and he formed the partnership Compose Yourself! to provide workshop opportunities for pupils and in-service training for teachers. He carried out research at the University of Reading into the use of electronic resources in vocal education and the means by which vocal potential can be released in singers of all ages and abilities, and this has led to his Harmony Signing project, a new pedagogical system for developing aural sensitivity and creative potential through group singing.
Nicholas was founder-editor of the journal Mastersinger published by the Association of British Choral Directors, and Artistic Director of ABCD’s 1996 conference in Oxford. He continues to compose, and brings to his teaching the assumption that the purpose of engaging with the music of the past is to develop the confidence and fluency to enable original self-expression. He is currently completing a book, "Every Child a Composer", that interprets his experience of the evolutionary psychology of music in relation to new pedagogical approaches and advocacy for music in schools.
Nicholas set up The Winthrop Singers in 2007 as UWA's élite chamber choir.