An Interview with Nima Darafshi


Photo courtesy of Nima Darafshi

Darafshi performs in a concert of the Williams College Wind Ensemble.

Students at Greylock play a wide variety of musical instruments, but junior Darafshi is a rare bassist. The Echo sat down with Darafshi to discuss his experience playing the instrument.

ECHO: What made you start playing the bass?

DARAFSHI: I started playing bass because of my teacher James Bergin. I had originally played the violin but my teacher introduced this new instrument to me when I was in sixth grade and I fell in love with it.

E: What’s unique about playing the bass?

D: Off the bat, the instrument is played in the obvious bass clef. It also has odd fingerings for notes. So rather than playing a scale and going up by one, two, then three fingers, one note goes up by the pointer finger then to either the middle finger or pinky finger. The bass is also more technical of an instrument. It requires leg balance when you play and has the thickest bow in the orchestra, calling for a different type of bow hold compared to a thin violin bow.

E: Do you have a favorite memory from your time playing the bass?

D: I can’t recall a favorite moment, but my favorite part about playing the bass is perfecting a song measure by measure. Whether it’s getting the fingering correct, the technique, the loudness, and even more skill that comes with the bass, acing all of those components at once is the most satisfying thing for me.

E: What are your future goals and plans for the bass?

D: My main goal is to get into the Berkshire symphony by the end of the year. Currently I participate in the Williams College Wind Ensemble and want to join more professional Williams College groups. But when I’m older I want to attend a college that has great symphonies and many musical opportunities for me to play as a bassist. I want my five years of experience to continue on as an adult, not ending when I leave Mount Greylock.

E: Do you have any advice for someone who might want to start playing the bass?

D: Personally I think the bass is the easiest instrument to learn in an orchestra and one that people hardly pursue. It’s difficult to learn but once you get playing the instrument down, there are so many different musical styles that the bass can accompany. Whether it be classical, jazz, bluegrass, or contemporary, the bass is highly versatile and possesses many perks.

E: Anything else you would like to add?

D: What first intrigued my passion for music was the soundtrack suite for the film “Psycho” by Alfred Hitchcock. And while I was playing bass, the performance of the suite “The Planets” by Gustav Holst from the Berkshire Symphony in my freshman year made me want to develop my skill as a musician and go pro.