His father was a professor of music.
He received his first instruction on the piano and violin from his parents, and performed at local concerts before he was five years old.
In April 1870, he entered the Royal Academy of Music where he studied under Sir W. Sterndale Bennet, Dr. Steggall, Signor Ciabatta, and Messrs. Sullivan, Jewson, Aylward and Pettit.
He successively won several honors:
- 1871 – Bronze medal for piano
- 1872 – Silver medal for piano
- 1873 – Mendelssohn Scholarship
- 1874 – Bronze medal for harmony
- 1876 – Lucas silver medal for composition
In 1874 Eaton Faning was appointed sub professor of the piano and Assocaite, and in 1878 Professor of the Piano.
He also played the violoncello and drums in the orchestra.
On July 18, 1877 his operetta ‘The Two Majors,’ was performed at the Royal Academy, which event led to the establishment of the Operatic Class at the institution.
A comic operetta, ‘Mock Turtles,’ was produced as the Savoy Theater in 1881, and another, ‘The Head of the Poll,’ at the German Reed Entertainment in 1882.
At the same time Eaton Faning occupied the posts of Professor and Conductor of the Choral Class at the National Training School, and Professor of the Piano at the Guildhall School of Music; the latter post he resigned in July 1885, when he was appointed Director of the Music at Harrow School. He retired from the Harrow School in 1901.
He examined for the Associated Board of the R.A.M. and the R.C.M. in South Africa in 1901.
From the opening of the Royal College of Music until July 1885 he taught the piano and harmony, and until Easter 1887 also conducted the Choral Class of that institution.
For a good many seasons he conducted a ‘Select Choir’ at Mssrs. Boosey’s Ballad Concerts.
Eaton Faning was for some time conductor of the London Male Voice Club, and of the Madrigal Society.
He received the degree of Mus.B. at Cambridge in 1894 and of Mus.D. in 1900.
His compositions include two operettas, a symphony in C minor, two quartets, an overture, a Magnificat and Nune Dimittis for full orchestra (performed at St. Paul’s at the Festival of the Songs of the Clergy), besides anthems, songs, duets, and part-songs, among which the ‘Song of the Vikings’ for four part chorus with piano duet accompaniment attained wide popularity.