Darren Sacks

Upright Bass

Lesson Fees
from $100.00 / 60 Minutes


Darren Sacks is one of the leading private teachers for double bass lessons in Greater Boston and specializes in audition preparation for music festivals, colleges, and youth orchestra programs.

Mr. Sacks focuses on improving his students' playing ability by focusing on their technique, phrasing, tone, and by providing insight on the way they approach practicing.

Mr. Sacks is currently a substitute double bassist for the Cape Symphony, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera, New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, and Worcester Symphony Orchestra. He is also an adjunct instructor for double bass at University of Massachusetts Boston. Sacks has also performed in several professional orchestras across Connecticut including the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, the New Britain Symphony Orchestra, and the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra.

While studying with Mr. Sacks, his students' achievements have included performing in the MMEA All-States Festival, getting promoted to more competitive ensembles within the New England Conservatory (NEC) Preparatory Division, participating in Berklee College of Music's "City Music" program, performing in the MMEA Northeast Senior District Festival, the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestra, Greater Bridgeport Youth Symphony (CT)), the Fine Arts program at the American Heritage School of Boca Raton (FL), and the CJMEA Elementary Honors Orchestra (NJ). Sacks has been instrumental in helping his students prepare successful auditions to gain acceptance into other top music college programs such as the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. In the past, he has also recommended some of his students to double bass luthier apprenticeships.

At University of Massachusetts Boston, music majors that have studied with Sacks have been recognized for the departmental jury prize. The Jury Prize at UMass Boston recognizes a single student that (usually out of the more than 50 students required to play juries for the semester) performs an exceptional jury and is rewarded with a scholarship for their upcoming academic term.

Mr. Sacks has been invited to conduct double bass lectures for students majoring in music education at Longy School of Music and University of Massachusetts Boston. In the past he has also coached chamber ensembles at the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestra and the Rivers School Conservatory.

Mr. Sacks received his Master's degree in Double Bass Performance from Boston Conservatory, and received his Bachelor's degree in Double Bass Performance, graduating summa-cum-laude from the Hartt School.

Mr. Sacks studied privately with world-renowned double bass musicians including Lawrence Wolfe, assistant principal bass of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Robert Black, founding member of the New York City-based contemporary ensemble, Bang On A Can. Sacks has received additional instruction from well-known double bassists from the Boston Symphony Orchestra including Edwin Barker, Benjamin Levy, Dennis Roy, James Orleans, Todd Seeber, and Thomas Van Dyck, double bassists from the New York Philharmonic such as Eugene Levinson and Orin O'Brien, as well as Albert Laszlo from the Juilliard School.

Mr. Sacks is a bass teaching artist for El Sistema Somerville and Boston Music Project, both of which are El Sistema-inspired urban youth orchestra programs that empower all students to become confident, engaged learners through rigorous, daily instruction in music ensembles and also provides the community with equitable access to musical excellence. At El Sistema Somerville, Sacks has been instrumental in helping double bass students win the Berklee Performing Arts Scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music's "City Music" program.

Mr. Sacks is also currently on Harvard's Office For The Arts' reference list which is a compilation of instructors who teach Harvard students. The listing is considered a starting point reference to Harvard students looking for quality music instructors in the Boston area and, in some cases, are awarded stipends to study with Sacks.

Students majoring in music at various colleges and universities (including students studying at music programs such as Valdosta State University) also take private lessons with Sacks for additional help with honing their solos, orchestral excerpts, and technique.

In his spare time, Mr. Sacks enjoys writing and publishing his own insightful articles on practicing the double bass as well as learning languages through taking online lessons.

Students can expect a teacher that addresses every single aspect of learning orchestral upright bass:  from honing bow technique, to left-hand formation and fingering choices, to reading musical notation, interpreting music and learning rhythm, finding the best setup for the bass, choices for rosin and strings, and so much more.  I am comfortable teaching all ages - and all levels; ranging from beginner bassists to proficient players.

My goal is to help students develop a technical foundation on the bass for playing just about any kind of music that they are interested in, and to support students with practicing tips for areas in their playing where they want to improve.

I have been teaching since August 2016 and so far I have helped students get into All-States, ensembles at the New England Conservatory Preparatory Division and Berklee College of Music, Districts/Regional festivals, youth orchestra programs, and music degree programs at colleges.  I feel that the reason why my students succeed is because most of my students get the sense that I am very passionate about teaching the bass and therefore I am usually very detailed and patient in my explanations.  I also use a combination of both verbal explanations and hands-on demonstrations, especially when it comes to improving mechanics and musicality.  Most of my students (and parents/guardians of my younger students) consider me to be very proficient and engaging.

My specialty is symphony orchestra training, so I primarily use both the Essential Elements for Strings books and Suzuki Bass School series at the beginning, and then later as students make progress, I begin to introduce standard orchestral repertoire, sonatas, and concertos written for the bass.  I tend to stay away from books dedicated to technical étude exercises such as Simandl (unless it's required for their upcoming audition or the student requests to work from one of these books) because I feel that my students make far more progress when we extract technique out of real pieces of music and melodies (appropriate for their level).  As you make progress in your playing, students will eventually begin to find out that musical notations can only tell you what notes you have to play and for how long, but it cannot teach you how to phrase it correctly or how to achieve a tone on the bass that is suitable to the music that you are working on.  This aspect of learning double bass is almost equivalent to how children (or even adults) learn languages - they pick up the sounds through exposure from their parents or other native speakers - and in our case, through working with our private bass teacher, listening to musical examples and, of course, participating in ensembles is greatly encouraged outside of lessons.

I look forward to working together and helping you to achieve your greatest potential on the double bass.

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