Darren Sacks
Boston, MA
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Darren Sacks

Darren S.

Boston, MA
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Profile-student-favorite Student Favorite
This teacher is rated in the top 15% of teachers in the specialty subject. This badge demonstrates subject mastery on a nationwide scale.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
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.

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. 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 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 students) consider me to be very proficient and engaging.

If you are interested in taking lessons with me, choose one of the lesson durations from the provided selection and then we can solidify lesson times that work for your schedule. I look forward to working together and helping you to achieve your greatest potential on the double bass.

About Darren S.

Darren 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.

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

Darren is currently a substitute bassist for the Boston Lyric Opera and is also an adjunct instructor for double bass at University of Massachusetts Boston. He 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 Darren, 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). In the past, Darren has also helped in recommending some of his students to double bass luthier apprenticeships.

Darren 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.

Darren 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.

Darren 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. Darren 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.

Darren is a bass teaching artist for El Sistema Somerville, an after-school orchestra program that empowers all students to become confident, engaged learners through rigorous, daily instruction in music ensembles and also provides the Somerville community with equitable access to musical excellence. Darren has been instrumental in helping El Sistema Somerville double bass students win the Berklee Performing Arts Scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music's "City Music" program.

Darren 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 Darren.

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 Darren for additional help with honing their solos, orchestral excerpts, and technique.

In his spare time, Darren enjoys writing and publishing his own insightful articles on practicing the double bass. He also has a passion for learning languages and has been taking weekly lessons in Thai, Mandarin Chinese, and Cantonese Chinese for the past two years.


Write a Review
18 Reviews
Profile-location-online Online

Darren is great. He has been teaching my daughter the upright bass for over three years (since she started). She has progressed quickly under his guidance and is now the principal bass for her orchestra,. Darren is very encouraging, and yet he also challenges his students to keep improving. Darren has taught my daughter in person at our house, but since March 2020 she has taken virtual lessons. Darren is totally comfortable in this format, so we'll likely stick with the virtual lessons for good. Overall Darren is just a great teacher. I highly recommend him!

Posted Sep 28, 2021
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I have been with Darren for something around 5 ish years and I improved beyond my dreams from when I started. With him I was able to rise orchestra levels, improve my technique drastically and even do districts! (For context I'm a freshman in high school now) Darren is my favorite bass teacher I've had and I am doing all states with him in the fall, hopefully. He's helped me with everything from auditions to grinding on orchestra pieces to starting jazz for the advanced jazz band. If you're looking for a teacher who will cater to your individual needs and listen to you and what you want to learn all the while seriously improving your bass, Darren's the one for you!

Posted Sep 13, 2021
Profile-location-online Online

Darren is a fantastic instructor, adept at teaching newcomers and more experienced players alike. There is no aspect of the art of bass playing that he cannot offer assistance in strengthening. For every hurdle I have encountered, he has devised an exercise that helps me get over it. He is particularly skilled at diagnosing the reason why a particular piece, passage, technique, or sound on the instrument is not quite there and then offering the precise advice on how to get it to the next level. I could not recommend him highly enough

Posted Sep 3, 2021
Profile-location-online Online

Darren is one of the best teachers I've ever worked with. I am a life-long electric bass player that fell in love with the sound and vibe of the upright last year. The double bass is a beautiful and rewarding instrument, but very difficult to get started on without the guidance of a caring mentor. I had previously tried self-teaching using YouTube workshops and video lessons, but had trouble making any progress. I also suffer from a chronic pain condition, and it seemed like no matter what I tried, I was constantly re-injuring my wrist.
In search of professional help, I discovered Darren. In our initial meeting Darren conveyed a true interest in helping me, and quickly diagnosed and fixed the posture struggles that were causing pain. I gained more understanding of the upright bass in our first lesson than in 6+ months on my own!
As an adult learner, Darren never made me insecure or afraid to ask questions. His warm personality and ability to demystify elements of classical bass really makes him an amazing educator!
After taking lessons with Darren this summer, I proudly felt confident to check off "Upright Bass" as my primary instrument of study at the local community college music program I attend.

Posted Aug 22, 2021
Heidi Gamma
Profile-location-online Online

My daughter worked with a few instructors over the years, but not until she started working with Darren did she truly grow as a bassist and a musician. Darren is a very dedicated and knowledgeable teacher who cares greatly about his students. My daughter always finds him to be kind, patient and motivating. She has been able to move up youth orchestra levels each year while working with Darren. He fully understands the audition process and is able to successfully guide his students. I highly recommend Darren as an instructor for any level!

Posted Apr 19, 2021
Lee K.
Profile-location-online Online

Darren is a very good teacher. Would recommend him to any bassist beginner or advanced.

Posted Nov 10, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

My 11 year old has attended an after school music program in our district for a few years playing the double bass. When Covid hit, she was no longer able to continue learning, but her music teacher recommended her to audition for a selective music program at Berklee College of Music. That's when I reached out to Darren via his website to see if he could work with my child for the 8 week period to prepare for the online audition submission.

Darren worked with her every week on a completely new song, introduced great techniques that enabled her to learn quickly and develop new skills. Those 8 weeks were very productive as my she learned the entire song, did the audition and was accepted into the Berklee music program. Darren is a very knowledgeable and dedicated music instructor and I am grateful to him for helping my daughter get into a selective music program. The online lessons from Darren are exceptional. You will not be disappointed with his instructions.

Posted Oct 1, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

My son Ethan started working with Darren early this summer after Ethan's previous instructor for 5 years had decided to retire . I was surprised how quickly Ethan was bonded with Darren in this virtual setting. Due to Covid 19, all lessons have been conducted via Skype. Here is what Ethan was talking about Darren. "I have nothing but good words to say about my experience with Mr. Sacks. within a few weeks, I improved a lot. He was able to help me fix fundamental issues with my playing. He was also incredibly kind and patient with me. Mr. Sacks was also always able to explain things well and give me new ways to improve my playing. He doesn't let go of my mistakes but very encouraging when providing advice."

Posted Sep 24, 2020
Thomas M.
Profile-location-online Online

Absolutely excellent bass instructor!

Posted Jun 19, 2020
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Darren works hard with my son from the moment he arrives until the moment he leaves, and I can always hear big improvements in the quality of my son's playing over the course of the hour. Since working with him, my son has qualified for Northeastern Senior Districts Orchestra and the All-State Orchestra. He has helped him take his bass playing to the next level and enjoy opportunities that he may not otherwise have had!

Posted Mar 15, 2020
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Darren Sacks is a fantastic bass player and teacher. I have improved quickly with him as my instructor. He helped me prepare for a solo in my high school orchestra and I felt that I was as prepared as I could have been. I was able to make it into my local district orchestra with his help. He's very passionate about his craft, and it shows through in his teaching.

Posted Mar 15, 2020
Mary Margaret
Profile-location-online Online

Darren did a wonderful job of preparing me for my audition. He could fix all of my issues and answer all of my questions! Thank you, Darren!!

Posted Sep 4, 2018
Profile-location-home Student's Home

My son does hybrid in person and online lessons with Darren. Darren is very enthusiastic, encouraging and articulate. After every lesson, my son is energized. For the first time, he advanced to state level after intensive lessons with Darren. Darren also teaches HOW to practice and clearly points out what he needs to do so my son can focus his practice. Highly recommend him.

Posted Feb 4, 2018
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Darren has been great to work with. He is highly motivated and passionate about teaching. I would highly recommend him.

Posted Jun 16, 2017
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Darren is enthusiastic and always looking for ways to "get through" to a student. He has a contagious passion.

Posted Jun 16, 2017
Ms. Turner
Profile-location-online Online

Darren has been a great instructor to my son Terrill. He's learning a lot and getting much better thanks to Darren. I wasn't sure how online sessions would work but they are going great. I'm glad I chose Darren.

Posted Jan 24, 2017

Darren has been an outstanding teacher for my high school daughter preparing for her college auditions. His attention to detail has vastly improved her technique. She is playing with more confidence also. Darren is fabulous in sharing his time and talent. She has had several private lesson teachers on the past but he is definitely the best!

Posted Jan 16, 2017
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Great teacher, very attentive and helpful, and is passionate about teaching proper form and best practices on the upright bass. Highly recommended.

Posted Aug 10, 2016

Photos & Videos

27 Photos & Videos


Adjunct Instructor - Applied Double Bass
Sep 2021 - Present

University of Massachusetts Boston

Located in: Boston, MA Description: Instructor for a collegiate course that consists of one-on-one double bass private lessons and an end-of-semester jury

Double Bass Teaching Artist
Oct 2018 - Present

El Sistema Somerville @ Somerville Public Schools

Located in: Somerville, MA Description: After-school music education program

Substitute Double Bassist
Mar 2018 - Present

Boston Lyric Opera

Located in: Boston, MA

Guest Chamber Coach
Feb 2018 - Present

Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestra

Located in: Manchester-By-The-Sea, MA

Guest Artist
Apr 2017 - Apr 2017

The Rivers School Conservatory

Located in: Weston, MA Description: Youth Symphony bass sectional

Substitute Double Bassist
Apr 2014 - Apr 2014

New Britain Symphony Orchestra

New Britain, CT - Adrian Sylvan, conductor

Substitute Double Bassist
May 2013 - May 2013

Waterbury Symphony Orchestra

Waterbury, CT - Leif Bjaland, conductor

Substitute Double Bassist
Jun 2012 - Jun 2012

Wallingford Symphony Orchestra

Wallingford, CT - Philip Ventre, conductor


Master of Music / Double Bass Performance
Sep 2014 - May 2016

The Boston Conservatory

Bachelor of Music / Double Bass Performance
Sep 2010 - May 2014

The Hartt School @ University of Hartford


Cantonese (Chinese) 广东话

Limited Proficiency


Fluent / Native Proficiency

Mandarin (Chinese) 中文

Limited Proficiency

Thai ภาษาไทย

Limited Proficiency


Boston Conservatory Scholarship
Mar 2014

The Boston Conservatory

Hartt Performing Arts Scholarship
Apr 2010

The Hartt School @ University of Hartford


American String Teachers Association
Jun 2018
The American String Teachers Association, founded more than 60 years ago, is a membership organization for string and orchestra teachers and players, helping them to develop and refine their careers. ASTA's members range from budding student teachers to artist-status performers. The organization provides a vast array of services, including instrument insurance, an award-winning scholarly journal, discounts on publications and resources, annual professional development opportunities, and access to collegial network of colleagues throughout the string profession.
International Society of Bassists
Oct 2017
The International Society of Bassists was founded by the world-renowned virtuoso Gary Karr in 1967. With nearly 3,000 members in over 40 countries, the ISB publishes a triannual magazine, Bass World, with an eclectic mix of articles about soloists, jazz and orchestral players, early music, pedagogy, international personalities and orchestras and reviews of new print music and recordings, plus monthly e-newsletters and communications.
American Federation of Musicians
Jul 2017
A labor union representing professional musicians in the United States and Canada. Founding in 1896 as the successor to the "National League of Musicians," the AFM is the largest organization in the world representing the interests of professional musicians.

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