Vocal Production of Song and Speech

Student singing.

Have you ever wondered why some people sing off key?

Project description

In the Auditory Perception and Action Lab (APAL), led by Drs. Pfordresher and Pruitt, we explore how people sing, speak, and perform music on an instrument. We are interested in why some individuals can learn and perform these tasks better than others and how we all use perceptual feedback from our actions to guide what we do. We are currently running several studies that address how people control vocal pitch when they sing and when they speak.

Project outcome

Students completing a project will gain competence in conducting behavioral research with individual participants, appropriate use and maintenance of equipment used for data collection, and analysis of real-time data from motor performance. These competencies will be exhibited at an end-of-semester presentation to lab members, developed with the support of the lab directors (Dr. Pfordresher and Dr. Pruitt). In addition, students will participate in weekly meetings during which they will learn to critical read and critique primary source journal articles.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Prefer academic year commitment, but can consider interest for one semester
Start time Fall (August/September)
Spring (January/February)
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration
Small group project (2-3 students)
Benefits Academic Credit
Who is eligible Sophomores and Seniors who have completed psychological statistics (or equivalent), and research methods in psychology (or equivalent). Ability to read music preferred.

Core partners

Project mentor

Peter Pfordresher



Phone: (716) 645-0234

Email: pqp@buffalo.edu

Tim Pruitt

Clinical Assistant Professor


Phone: (716) 645-0200

Email: tapruitt@buffalo.edu

Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Before participating it is necessary to contact one of the lab directors (Dr. Pfordresher or Dr. Pruitt) to discuss your background and schedule, to ensure that this is a good option for you.
  • If this project seems like a good fit, we will find an optimal project for you and assign a small reading list to help you prepare, as well as any useful tutorials for using software and/or equipment.
  • All applicants should read the following brief papers which provide a quick introduction to the focus of the lab.