Neal Heywood Jones was passionate about music. It was his anchor. He was a wonderful musician, and he found ways to give his music as a gift to other people. And he was generous with that gift. While he wanted to have a successful band and musical career, he spent much of his time teaching other people how to play music, because he knew it would help them to heal, just as it had helped him.
In December of 2017, at age 27, Neal was diagnosed with lung cancer. At this time he was working to record some of the many songs he had written, and he was working out logistics to teach music to his close friend’s daughter, who was struggling with some developmental issues. He was sure music would help her to organize her brain and to have more joy. But the cancer was aggressive and relentless. Neal passed away on September 18, 2018, with many of his dreams unrealized.
People came from far and near to tell me what he had done for them – from taking time to listen when they felt alone and afraid, to helping them get clean, to teaching them to play the guitar, to being the only kid in school who would say hello.
I can’t describe to you how it feels to lose a child. There are always unrealized dreams, regrets. Wishing you could have done something differently. And the empty chair when the family gets together. Wondering what you can do to honor them, and to help bring about the things they so wanted.
So, in an effort to do something meaningful in honor of this generous, musical soul, Little Bird Piano Academy is donating ten per cent of its teaching time to kids in need. We are asking for assistance in providing those kids with the same supplies paying students receive: music books, teaching tools, and a piano. If you are able to contribute even ten dollars, you can be a part of helping a child to become a member of the musical community, to have some one-on-one time with a loving adult in addition to those already in their lives, and to learn to have a voice in this big, confusing world.