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Influential beginnings

In 1913 at the age of just 15, Dorothy entered the Royal Academy of Music. She studied composition with Sir J.B. McEwen; piano with both Percy Waller and Tobias Matthay and violin with Gladys Chester. An impressive future was predicted for Dorothy by all of her professors in letters written to the family. The influence of the three tutors who inspired her was long-lasting and she kept their photographs on the piano where she worked.

One of Dorothy's earliest compositional works, written when she was just 13, is a set of six pieces for piano. They were printed in 1911 and were inspired by the Tales of Beatrix Potter and her love of nature. Dorothy freely admitted that she simply loved music for its beauty.

Dorothy's natural talent for composition developed under the guidance of Sir J.B. McEwen, Scottish classical composer co-founder of the Society of British Composers and highly respected music teacher. Her abilities were further acknowledged in 1914 when she won the Hine Prize for composition of an English ballad, though most of her earliest compositions were for piano.

Percy Waller, with whom she studied piano, had the greatest admiration for Dorothy: "Mr. Waller simply loves my compos and says I ought to make a lot of money out of them. He gave me ¾ hour lesson yesterday and was full of ideas for improving them. We both got so excited!"

Later piano tuition came from Tobias Matthay, regarded as one of the greatest piano tutors of the time, who was affectionately known as 'Uncle Tobs' by his students. His own unique style is mirrored in her writings for the piano. Matthay's principles stressed the importance of relaxation of the hands, arms and shoulders; a capacity for intense concentration on the music; warmth and fullness of tone; clean articulation and the ability to enjoy music as music.

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