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Photo by John Abbott

We are thrilled to welcome Andrew Van Tassel to the UNC Department of Music faculty as a Lecturer of jazz saxophone. Van Tassel is an award-winning jazz saxophonist, composer, educator, and alumnus of the department.

Get to know Andrew in our interview down below!

UNC Music: What is your position on faculty and what courses are you teaching this semester?
Andrew Van Tassel: I’m a lecturer in jazz saxophone, teaching private lessons and jazz saxophone studio.

UNC Music: What is your favorite part of teaching?
AVT: ​Helping students make breakthroughs on their instrument and have moments of musical epiphany.

UNC Music: What is the project that you’re most excited about currently?
AVT: It’s non-musical, but: becoming a dad! My wife and I just had our first child, so I’m learning a lot about parenting these days.

UNC Music: What are some of your non-musical hobbies?
AVT: Taking my dog, Bear, on outdoor adventures.

UNC Music: If your students could learn one thing from you, what do you hope it will be?
AVT: Seeing the big picture: ​music can remain an integral part of your life even if you choose a job/career in a different field.  (I live a double life in finance and music; if I can do it, I think anyone can.)

UNC Music: What music are you currently listening to?
AVT: I listen to a lot of music – not only jazz. And oddly, I listen to rhythm section players (i.e., pianists, guitarists, drummers) quite more than saxophonists. Here’s a smattering of things I’m checking out as I write this: Brian Blade Fellowship (Season of Changes); Radiohead (In Rainbows); Aaron Parks (Volume One); Kurt Rosenwinkel (Angels Around); Maurice Ravel (Musique Pour Piano performed by Monique Haas).

UNC Music: Anything else you’d like students to know about you or your teaching?
AVT: I work a full-time job doing marketing at a global asset management and technology development firm in New York City.  I believe that staying curious and opening yourself to explore new ideas and interests is a key to long-term success with both your instrument and life.

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