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Research

Song Tutoring

Songbirds learn their songs during a developmental critical period by first listening to and memorizing the song of an adult song tutor.

In this video of a tutoring session, a juvenile male zebra finch (left) is listening to the song of his father (right).

Young male zebra finches require only a handful of tutoring sessions in order to memorize the song of their tutor. Through intensive vocal practice young birds will gradually learn to imitate the song of their tutor, a process that takes them as many as 6 weeks and tens of thousands of rounds of practice.

My laboratory uses several techniques to study the brain circuits involved in this type of learning.