Derrick Hodge began studying electric guitar at the age of 7, inspired by the playing of West Philadelphia’s Beulah Baptist Church choir’s bassist, Joel Ruffiin. A year later, Hodge switched to electric bass guitar and began playing in the elementary school concert band and orchestra. In junior high, he was introduced to the upright contrabass. At the time, there were no bass instructors so Hodge learned the instrument by using his electric bass technique and by watching the 1st and 2nd violins sitting across from him. And for jazz band, he just played the upright bass as if it were an electric bass, disallowing the lack of instructional resources to be his hindrance.
He considers himself a product of a hotbed of talent from the greater Philadelphia region which had a thriving Gospel, Jazz, Classical, R&B and emerging Hip Hop scene. He also credits mentors such as James Poyser, Jethaniel Nixon, and others throughout his teenage years. Hodge received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Temple University Ester Boyer College of Music where he studied Jazz Composition and Performance. He studied acoustic and electric bass privately with Vince Fay. He was also involved in the Temple University Jazz Band and Small Ensemble, conducted by Terell Stafford, and was the first Jazz major to participate in the Temple University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Luis Biava, and New Music Chamber Orchestra. He was also a student at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Academy, under the instruction of Christian McBride and Loren Schoenberg.