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The School Band

Not only are our staff at The London School of English very experienced and well qualified in teaching English as a foreign language, they are also great entertainers! In fact, I think we might be one of the only schools in London to have its own band.

The group is called Banned Practice and is made up of teachers and members of staff at the school. Banned Practice have been practising, writing songs and performing for at least 20 years. The group has had many different members and has played possibly hundreds of different songs over the years.

I am the most recent member of the group. I joined about 3 years ago when I started working at the school. I play the drums, and I sometimes sing (but the less said about that the better). Teachers and staff members from both Holland Park and Westcroft Square are involved in the band. We have two guitarists (Robin Gray and Francis Duncan), a bass guitarist (Johnny ‘Danger’ Diablo), and lead singers (Michelle Oldman, Richard McNeff, Kevin Scanlan, Carrick Cameron, Simon Williams). Some of those singers are also guitarists, keyboard players, flutists, saxophone players and even tambourine players. There is so much talent packed into this group that sometimes it feels like we are going to explode!

We play cover versions of classic rock and roll songs from the 50s to the noughties, and we also write some original material. Richard McNeff in particular has written quite a few of his own tracks (Richard is also a published novelist – check out his website here).

We practise once a week either in the school or in a local rehearsal studio in Shepherds Bush, and we perform concerts to our staff and students regularly during the year. The concerts are usually great parties in which everyone has a good time grooving to the music or just observing the incredible display of musicianship and entertainment on stage! Our gigs often end with the crowd shouting “Encore encore!”

Being in the band is great fun, especially during gigs, but we also work very hard at learning the songs. Hopefully the hard work pays off when we get in front of the audience and start our set. We aim to entertain, and always hope that everyone enjoys themselves.

If you come to The London School of English or you are a student here now, watch out for up-coming social events involving Banned Practice. We are also on Facebook, so check us out!


  • is made up of - (vb. phr.) consists of
  • over the years – (adv.) during the long time since it started
  • the less said about that the better – (idiom) don’t talk about it
  • cover versions – (adj.+n.) songs which were written and recorded by someone else
  • the noughties – the informal expression for the decade 2000-2009 (e.g. 80-89 = the eighties, 90-99 = the nineties – 2000 – 2009 = the noughties). The word ‘noughties’ is a kind of pun on the words ‘naughty’ which means ‘badly behaved’, and the word ‘nought’ which means ‘zero’ or 0)
  • original material – (adj.+n.) songs written by the band (not cover versions)
  • tracks - (n.) songs
  • rehearsal studio – (adj.+n.) a place in which a band practises
  • grooving - (v.) dancing
  • musicianship – (n.) the ability to play a musical instrument
  • gigs – (n.) live concerts
  • to be in a band – (vb. phr.) to be a member of a musical group
  • the hard work pays off – (idiom) hard work is rewarded in the end
  • a set – (n.) the whole list of songs which a band plays in one concert

By Luke

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