In 2007 Tyler entered the Jazz Studies program at Michigan State University, directed by Rodney Whitaker, former bassist of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The program provided him the opportunity to study with world-class musicians and perform with jazz greats, including Mulgrew Miller, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wycliffe Gordon, Jon Faddis, and Jimmy Heath.
Dave Sumner, eMusic Contributor on the Tyler Vander Maas Sax Quartet's album, TVSQ:
As far as sax quartets go, this one creates an astoundingly textured palette. Way more attention to the harmonic elements than the interplay of honks and skronks. Some very pretty moments, and some thrilling ones, too, like the transition between herky-jerky march and soft cooing on “Syeeda’s Song Flute,” and the switch from low moan to bright trills and cries on “After the Trane.” Young group out of Lansing, Michigan, and a promising start to their careers.