first nature foundation training


This is a One Year Foundation training in ‘First Nature’, a body of practices, exercises and understandings drawn from the wisdoms of body, breath and voice which are common to both the performing and contemplative traditions. Central to this approach is the continuum of sound and silence. The five pure vowels are taught with appropriate body, breath and vocal exercises, resulting in us becoming:

  • energetically more balanced with quieter minds

  • more able to rest in ourselves and listen from that spaciousness

  • richer in communication and vibrant vocal expression

  • altogether healthier, happier human beings

First Nature's founding director Corinne Shirman-Sarti developed this approach during her years as a professional singer and singing teacher - inspired by what the human voice reveals about us. The foundation training will be offered by experienced and qualified coaches from the First Nature Association. The association’s aim is to promote self-understanding and transformation through the enjoyable means of liberating body, breath, voice and hearing in the context of developing a compassionate approach to ourselves and the world we move in.

Who for? The training will be helpful for anyone who is interested in being more at home in their voice, by identifying unhelpful and obstructive
patterns which have become ‘second nature’, in order to dissolve this conditioning to reveal our ‘first nature.’ People who have benefited from First Nature training include professional singers (of all styles and traditions of music), people who want to learn to sing, and people who have experienced difficulties in breathing, energy or their voices.

What will it offer? This foundation training will begin by enabling participants to become established in a compassionate relationship with themselves, their environment and others. It offers a range of understandings, exercises and practices which are related to the five vowel sounds (o, ah, eh, oo and ee) and which integrate the physical, energetic and spiritual dimensions of these vowels. In addition, it will be a strong foundation and pre-requisite for more advanced training that will enable participants to develop coaching skills so that they can coach others in First Nature in the context of a variety of professional and informal situations.

Participants sounding on the foundation training:

Here are some testimonials from previous participants about the personal benefits:

“It has had a big impact on many different levels. In terms of singing it has helped with breathing, posture and resonance, created much greater ‘groundedness’ which is a huge help in performing. Extended hearing is a particularly useful skill when singing in a choir and working with other musicians. The compassionate approach has (over time!) countered my tendency to perfectionism and wanting to ‘get things right’ and helped me deal with performance situations when things haven’t gone so well…In a wider sense it has also helped me at work when I’m speaking in meetings or doing presentations, coping with stressful situations, or dealing with conflict. I’ve found extended hearing can really help me hear other people in these situations.” Janet Ormerod, Brighton

“I got my singing voice back. Just how important that was, I didn’t even know then. I received the foundation skills that helped me to learn how to nurture this important part of myself.” Rose Fuhrman, Shiatsu practitioner

“It has given me a working toolbox to apply to myself for all sorts of imbalances and difficulties ranging from exhaustion and tiredness after illnesses, to helping change my emotional state when angry or upset, to quite literally unblocking unrecognised physical pathways. It helps me to understand myself in all its aspects.” Jacqueline Bristow, psychologist

“I have benefitted personally from my FN training in myriad ways, some of which become clearer even as more time passes. Doing the training fulfilled a subtle but long-held yearning to develop my sound in a spiritual context. I had often been told that my singing technique perhaps should be separate from my spiritual and personal development, and had felt more than vaguely inadequate because I couldn’t seem to do it that way. The training was a place where it all worked together. I think it helped me live in my soulfulness. Doing this in a communal way with others was also a new and rich experience; and diverse folk as we are, to this day I carry a sense of, and feel a bond with, those I’ve met within a FN context.  There was immense benefit for someone like me in being able to take LOTS of time for things to evolve, just for their own sake, and not for some professional end. Being, in freedom, was fabulous. And in fact I found that working in such a focussed but not driven way, brought about change quite swiftly. The exercises themselves created a basis for my singing which had never been there, and  in subsequent years perhaps I have developed this, and attained more fluidity with it.” Penny Randall-Davis, Opera singer

Training Structure and Practical Details

Schedule: introductory weekend followed by three five-day blocks (over a weekend),  and ending with a completion weekend.

The next course will be offered when a core group is ready to do the training.

Fees: A deposit will be required to reserve a place. Three installments will then be payable before each module.

What the fee covers: Fees cover the 19 days training, which will include a high level of individual attention, tuition by a team of highly experienced coaches, and support by assistant and trainee coaches. The fee includes refreshments. Additional expenses, payable by participants will consist of travel, accommodation if not living locally, and lunches during the training days.

Location and Venue: The training will be conducted in Lewes or Brighton in East Sussex. All training will be non-residential. There is a wide selection of B&Bs;, hotels, and hostels in the area also. Venues will be easily accessible by public transport.

Bookings and Enquiries

Please contact us if you wish to register an interest, ask about coming to a taster session, or request further information.

A review from someone attending the Foundation Training performance April 21st 2013:


Performance May 2016: