We had the good fortune of connecting with Lindsay Dodoras and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lindsay, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Being a musician and educator, authenticity must come above all; whether I am in front of an audience of strangers or classroom of students, being myself is the most important quality to demonstrate. I strive to give all of myself to every person that I come in contact with and in return, I am willing to receive all of you; the good, the bad and everything in between. There is no one else in the world just like you, and to me, that is wildly exciting and gives me the outstanding responsibility to be the best I can be. If you are yourself, you cannot fail. Only when you try to be someone else is where you can fall short. One of my favorite quotes comes from Maurice Ravel when speaking to an aspiring young composer, George Gershwin, he stated, “Why would you want to be a second-rate Ravel when you can be a first-rate Gershwin?”. That always stayed with me as I have grown through my career. I find beauty and uniqueness in all my students and peers in the music field, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Diversity is what makes art so valuable. Not one person is entirely alike, and for that, you are endlessly important.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I cherish being a musician and educator. I find that I am able to utilize my skills in the classroom that I use on the stage, which allows me to constantly hone my craft and provide a great quality model for my students. Because I use my voice so frequently throughout my everyday life, I always feel that I am authentically myself, which is a core value of mine. I don’t feel like I am turning “on” my stage persona or taking “off” my teaching hat; I just feel like Lindsay consistently across the board. To me, that is valuable and gives me great pride of who I am. I was taught from a young age to value education and hard work; I grew up in the theater, where my true musical inspiration blossomed. I learned how to embrace myself and how to listen to others; both valuable skills that influenced my future. After years of pursuing musical theater, I decided to explore another genre of music: vocal jazz. I studied Jazz Vocal Performance and received my Master’s in Music Education in Philadelphia, PA, while pursuing regional theater and performing at the Kimmel Center with the Philly Pops. I was thrilled to be studying and pursuing my career in the arts. It was an interesting balance of inputting knowledge through my studies and outputting musicianship and artistry through my singing. The excitement of learning and performing was a sensation that I grew to adore. I knew that I wanted to find a path that allowed me to follow my passion for both. I decided to take a leap of faith and move across the country to pursue a new career in a new town. I am so fortunate that I found the perfect community of students that support me as a teacher and artist. It can be a tricky balance because performing and teaching are both full work loads unto themselves, but I feel as if I never truly work a day in my life because I love what I do so dearly. I am given such fulfillment from both aspects of my career. I find the most important thing to maintaining your stamina as a teacher and performer is listening to your body and what it needs. You must feel your best to be able to give to others. Music can be a very vulnerable and taxing craft where you are constantly giving. It is crucial to know when you need to refuel so you can put your best self forward. I have learned that preparedness and a positive attitude is the most valuable and memorable way to make an impression in the music business (and in the world!). If you want to be called upon again, you must be a person that others want to work with. You must handle yourself and others with grace and put your best foot forward in all that you do; you never know when someone is watching and considering you for something more. Therefore, always do your best and treat others with kindness; it will bring you a long way! Since moving to Los Angeles, I have been so fortunate to make friends with the most genuine, talented, and selfless musicians, artists and educators who I call friends. I look forward to continuing to cultivate my musical community through my ukulele ensembles, Glee Club, private vocal students and my many, many elementary school students. In addition to furthering my teaching, I also look forward to continuing my live performing and recording projects that allow me to express my creativity and artistic side. Keeping both sides of my career engaged keeps me inspired and fulfilled.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
What fun! Being from the East Coast and having family in Europe, I feel like I have many guests coming to visit LA- I have this itinerary down! We certainly need to explore the sights and eat all of the best food! I would be sure to escort our guests immediately to In-N-Out for them to be the judge! Then we could venture down Sunset Blvd all the way to Malibu for the scenic drive. Once we got to Malibu, we would work our way to Santa Monica and Venice beach for a walk on the pier and a trip to Abbot Kinney Boulevard for the shops and an ice cream cone from Salt & Straw. As the sun is setting, we would walk along the beach to head to the car. Just as it’s getting dark, we would take a drive to Griffith Observatory for an evening view of the city and a dark sky with stars. The rest of the trip would need to include visits to Downtown Los Angeles to visit the Grand Central Market, the Last BookStore, Donut Friend, and OUE Skyspace to see a view of the city. I would have our guests visit Huntington Gardens for a stroll outside and go to lunch at my dear friend’s restaurant, Julienne’s in San Marino. We MUST take a trip to Disneyland and end with a visit to the Hollywood Bowl for an outdoor picnic and evening of music!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A huge thank you to the wonderful educators and mentors who have helped shape me into the musician and teacher I am today. I have been so honored to have had incredible teachers who encouraged me to provide the same light in the life of my students. Now as a music educator, I am surrounded by sensational instructors who inspire me to be the best I can be for my students. Every teacher in my life has contributed to who I am as a person and continue to influence my artistry to this day. I must mention my unbelievable support system and dearest people to my heart: my family. To my husband, my collaborator and inspiration, you are truly the most devoted, exciting and selfless person whom I am thankful for every day. To my father, thank you for teaching me the power of hard work, the importance of doing what you love. To my mother, thank you for your kind heart and strong mind. You have taught me endless strength and how to be a warm, loving, independent woman. To my sister, I thank you for being my rock and best friend. I admire your strength and aspire to be as driven as you each and every day. To my grandmother, my incredibly wise and tender teacher and dear friend, thank you for your musical inspiration, long talks that end in laughter, and your strong, sound advice whenever I need you. I cherish you all more than you could ever know!
Brian Bonanno Tim Miller Melissa Ronaldson