Todd Rundgren was in residence at IU for two weeks as a professor for the Wells Scholars program. In addition to teaching a seminar for Wells and Hutton scholars, he gave a masterclass and Q & A session for Recording Arts students, and performed a recital in Auer Hall entitled Cluster: The Birth of the T-Chord.
Rundgren advised students not to be afraid of technology, ‘just dive in and try to break it! That’s how you learn to use it to it’s full potential’ But he cautioned that technology is not a end unto itself, it has to serve the music. So if the song isn’t working, rearrange it or rewrite it. Don’t try to fix it with ‘Tools. Rundgren also spoke about how to build a career. He pointed out that the traditional opportunities, such as working your way up through the studio system are no longer available, instead he advised students to become entrepreneurs and ‘create your own reality’.
Rundgren is optimistic about the future of the music industry. He described how in the early 90s he approached several major labels about creating an online subscription music service, and was turned down. The very next year Napster went online and the decline of the music industry establishment began. Now, he said, the internet allows artists to reach their fans directly without the label being in the way, and this will lead to a renaissance of new music.
Watch his performance of Beloved Infidel featuring ‘The Mighty Wurlitzer” played by Chris Young.