Take a look at Dr. Terence Pender's CULPA page and you'll find only glowing reviews: "Terry is a fountain of information about music history (both pop music and classical) and you might find that you learn more about music in this class [than] you did in Music Hum. He's also always available to help and will gladly spend an hour (or more) hanging out with you and talking about your creative ideas."
These endorsements only speak to Dr. Pender's commitment to his students. It is his aim to guide his students towards certain classes, introduce them to different types of music, and connect them with New York City professionals: "I feel like in a lot of ways I'm a gatekeeper ."
Dr. Pender's teaching philosophy is reflective of his own music history and his rich and diverse career. Now the Assistant Director of Columbia's Computer Music Center, Dr. Pender began his music career after moving to New York from the Midwest and playing guitar in bands at iconic NYC venues in the mid-80s (including CBGB and The Mudd Club).
One of his bands, Ice Nine, was the opening act for Culture Club at Madison Square Garden. He has also opened for Phillip Glass.
Dr. Pender's office in Prentis Hall is home to the RCA Mark II Synthesizer, an important early electronic music device acquired by the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center after its founding in 1958. The RCA Mark II takes up an entire wall in his office and still attracts international visitors today.
Dr. Pender credits the popularity of electronic music to the increasing accessibility of laptops, but he adds, "In 1965, [if] you want to become an electronic music composer and you live in the United States, you basically have to get into Columbia University's composition program."
Dr. Pender has a doctorate in composition from the University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music, but as an undergraduate, he majored in Political Science and Philosophy: "Political Science is really about organization, and in a sense, it's not a bad study for bands, something I say in class all the time is, how are you going to get your music into people's earbuds on the subway? … I always talk about where we are in music history." He is currently writing a book on the History of Recorded Sound.
For any college musician looking to have a career in the music industry, Dr. Pender's advice is to begin to build a network and find collaborators while at school (his former students include the members of Vampire Weekend).
Dr. Pender's favorite recording software is Logic Pro, which he recommends for college musicians: "I think it's important to get that software and to start recording right away, and I think the secret is recording a lot."
The professor counts the innovative work of Brian Eno, Robert Fripp and Bill Putnam as influential to his own. Right now he's listening to Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly: "I have some friends of mine that are telling me that's the best mastered record out there right now …"
"I know when I go back to teaching Recorded Sound this summer and next year people are going to say, "How do you do this?" so I have to listen to these records and get a sense of what's going on before they come in."