From a hobby to a future job

Senior chooses to turn lifelong passion into career


As Wes Baldwin grew up, he watched his older brother struggle with academics yet excel with his musical talent. He saw the gleam in his brother’s eyes as he played the trumpet and realized that this, too, was his passion.

Baldwin’s biggest inspiration had always been his older brother who played the trumpet.

“The one thing he did stick with was music… and even though he wasn’t super smart, he ended up going to some really prestigious colleges for playing trumpet,” Baldwin said.

In sixth grade, Baldwin picked up a trombone for the first time. As he practiced more and more, the stronger his love and dedication for the instrument and music grew. He began to write and compose his own pieces on top of playing trombone

However, it wasn’t until during his junior year that he realized this was the path he wanted to pursue professionally.

“I took the theory classes at Wando and that got me really interested in doing music composition, so that was my original plan…but then after taking the Teacher Cadet class, I decided that it was really teaching and being with the kids that I liked doing better,” Baldwin said.

With this knowledge in mind, Baldwin decided to combine his passions by committing to Furman University and majoring in music education this coming fall.

“I’ll definitely continue to play trombone in college and doing that can come with gigs that will pay,” Baldwin said.

Currently, Baldwin plays gigs at local churches during major holidays while still balancing his school work. He also plays in Wando’s cabaret and orchestra. He plays in a jazz band and participates in different jazz camps in the area as well.

There is always the concern of finances when pursuing a career in the music industry. However, Baldwin trusts that with his education degree, stable jobs will be in abundance.

“One of the reasons I decided to do education instead of composition is because I wasn’t really sure how I would find a job with composition but for music education, I know that you can always find a job as an educator these days, they’re always in demand,” Baldwin said.

With a love for education and a passion for music, it only makes sense that Baldwin pursues these two interests in a combined method.

“A lot of people think doing band after middle school is kind of lame. There’s always that stigma, but I’ve always found it [band] enjoyable and I’ve made some good connections and friends along the way,” Baldwin said.

The inspiration from his brother combined with the support system Baldwin found within the band community made this hobby turn to a passion and potential career.

“I’m definitely glad I stuck with it because it helped me find what I was going to do with the rest of my life,” Baldwin said.