Neville John, the son of a coal miner, was born in Tumble, a successful mining village in Carmarthenshire in January 1928. After many years as a wages clerk at the Tumble Colliery Office, his success in the Mature Age Matriculation Exams at Cardiff University made him eligible to pursue a 3 year course leading to a B Mus degree. On graduation day in July 1957 he was informed by the Professor of Music, Dr Joseph Morgan, that he had won the coveted David Evans Memorial Prize, awarded to meritorious students in the Music Department.
After a year of teacher training, he was appointed Head of Music at a grammar school near Sheffield. After 3 years he was appointed Teacher of Orchestral Instruments for Merthyr Tydfil Education Authority in South Wales a job which lasted 32 years until his retirement in July 1993. Whilst in Merthyr his March for School Orchestra won first prize at the National Eisteddfod in Ammanford in 1970 (adjudicator William Mathias) and his son Steven and daughter Delyth both won first prize in the Violin competition at the Urdd National Eisteddfod in 1975 and 1982 respectively.