ABOUT LELIA CALDER


Biographical information relating to MOVEMENT:  The Alexander Technique   

I began my study of the Alexander Technique in 1980 with Kitty Wielopolska. She had been a member of Alexander's first training course in London. With my first lessons it became clear to me that this training in mindfulness of body was invaluable, not only for me as a musician,  but as a tool for finding freedom and balance of body/mind.   After receiving my certification to teach in 1984, I began taking private students, teaching classes, and giving presentations and workshops at many schools, theatres and performing arts organizations.  These included the National Association of Teachers of Singing Annual Convention, the Puppeteers Guild of Pennsylvania, the Annual Voice Symposium in Philadelphia and the University of the Arts.   At my studio, private students receive lessons in the Alexander Work.  They often come because of chronic pain, or occupational injuries.  Or they may be actors, musicians or dancers whose professions demand a high level of physical skill and endurance.  By learning to be present in the body and aware of their ‘use’,  and with guidance and practice, they become free of unnecessary tension and effort, able to move in a balanced, free and efficient way without strain.

Teaching certificate from the Wielopolska School of the Alexander Technique (1984)
Senior Teacher, M. AmSAT  (American Society for the Alexander Technique) since 1992



               Biographical information relating to SOUND:  Voice Studio 

My early studies, first in piano and later in voice, were the beginning of a lifelong love of music.  I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Music History and later from Temple University with a Masters in Voice Performance, and sang professionally for some years before beginning to teach.  While in graduate school I began my study of the Alexander Technique and was introduced to the new discipline of voice science.  Bringing movement and sound together in the service of the art of singing has been a source of unending fascination and challenge for me.  For fifteen years I taught voice and gave voice and Alexander classes at Swarthmore College.  For ten of those years, I was on the faculty of the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts, teaching classes in English diction and vocal pedagogy to singers, and at Temple University Center City teaching voice classes.  During this time, while also maintaining a private studio, I continued to perform in the Philadelphia area as a recitalist, church soloist and with professional  groups such as Philamel, Pennsylvania Pro Musica and the Philadelphia Singers.  Finally, in 1989, I gave up performing to devote all my time to teaching.  By the time I retired from voice teaching in 2015, the principles of the Alexander Work had become an integral part of vocal development and performance in my Swarthmore studio.  I enjoyed training voices and acting as a accompanist and coach in performance practice for students of all ages and diverse musical interests.


Member – National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS)



  Biographical information relating to SILENCE:  Healing & Meditation Practice

My search began at the age of 20 with a healing experience which changed my life.  It profoundly disturbed my beliefs about “Truth” and from this upheaval came a genuine quest to know the nature of reality.  Soon afterwards, I found The Infinite Way and my first teacher, who was herself a spiritual healer.  In the 1970’s and ‘80’s,as the spiritual technologies of Asia became known in this country, I explored Yoga, Vedanta, Subud, TM, and especially Zen practice.  From the Alexander Technique and from Buddhism I learned that physical form is not separate from what we call `spiritual'.  The experience of energy flows in Tai Chi and Chi Gung practice, led me to the study of energy healing at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing from which I graduated in 1993.  I also trained in the Light Body Work (1992) and in Flow Alignment and Connection (1994) with Amy Skezas. 

The writings of Pema Chödrön, an American Buddhist nun well known for her very popular teachings on developing compassion, brought me to Tibetan Buddhism in the early 1990’s.  One milestone in the intensive study and practice that followed was Vajrayana Seminary from which I graduated in 1999.  Following that, came two 7-week Yarne retreats at Gampo Abbey under the guidance of Ani Pema Chödrön and the traditional Tibetan three year retreat under the direction of Kenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.  Vajrayana practice includes all the elements - sound, movement, visualization, meditation and energy work - that, for me, facilitate the inner journey to awakening, integration and wholeness. 

Alexander Teacher, 1984-
Barbara Brennan School of Healing, 1989-1993
Light Body Work, 1992
Flow Alignment and Connection, 1994
M.I. (Meditation Instructor) Training, Baltimore & Philadelphia Shambhala Centers, 2001
Three Year Retreat under the guidance of Kenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.  Gampo Abbey, 2005-10.
Energy Healing: Training with Dr. Anne Marie Chiasson.  2011.
Mahamudra retreats with Dr. Dan Brown. 2011-2014.