First, you’ve got to feel confident about what you’re doing when you pick up your instrument and open your mouth. Don’t go halfsies when you start to sing; believe in yourself and your abilities.
Deb stressed the importance of warming up before you begin singing for an audience. There are now a number of phone and pad apps out there to help you.
Find a key you can sing in comfortably. Deb demonstrated the importance of key with a song she often performs in which the first verse is sung in low notes she can comfortably reach, but heads for the top of her range after that. But because it’s sung in a key in which she can sing, she can perform it without anxiety.
Many of the points she covered are here in these workshop handouts, including a Guitar [sic] Transposition Wheel that you can use if you want to transpose a chords-and-lyrics sheet like the ones we make available to a friendlier key.
Deb, along with her accompanist Andrew Hardin (and during one medley of Hank Williams tunes, with our very own Bob), ended the evening with a concert of some great songs. If you get the chance to hear Deb Porter sing, go for it. Thanks, Deb.
Oh, and yodeling? Here’s the main trick: you must find the spot at which your voice “breaks” when you pass from a low note to a higher note. It may take hours to find it, she warns, and you must try for it in a place in which you aren’t driving others crazy. “I learned during a very long, lonely drive,” she told us. Once you know your break, you’ll be able to yodel.