According to Ecker, legend has it that in 400 AD, missionaries who were travelling along the banks of the Italian River Po were so delighted with the beauty of the scenery that they broke out into spontaneous yodelling and were killed by the locals who mistook the noise for a war cry.
"I've taught people from 110 countries including China and Japan, professional singers and actors, as well as corporate executives in motivation seminars," Ecker says. The yodelling instructor holds courses at Alpine locations in Bavaria but also travels to other parts of Germany. A basic Introduction to Yodelling course lasts a gruelling eight to 12 hours after which students get a Yodelling Diploma.
It doesn't take long to teach people the pitch changes, but the characteristic Bavarian rolling Rs are more of a challenge, he says. He also teaches students the basic yodelling syllables such as re, rü, ra, ri, yo. It's up to them how they string the syllables together, as long as there's not too much repetition, says Ecker.
"The breathing techniques and yodelling experience give people a feeling of joy that can last for weeks."