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Almost is Enough

It's easy to think that only the most polished performances should be staged, only the most flawless events should be held, and only the most complete works of art should be published. But art doesn't work that way, and neither should anything else. Creativity is never perfect, and neither are we. If we wait for perfection, we'll be waiting forever. Embracing the "Almost" frees us from the fear of failure and the shackles of unrealistic expectations. Shoot for the moon, and be content with wherever you land. I learned this valuable lesson at a concert in Dallas, from a young trumpet player named Jordan. 

Readjust the Yardstick used for Measuring Success and Failure

During one of my tours as a singer-songwriter, I visited high schools to hold fundraisers for their music programs. We ended up raising and donating $300,000 to these programs with this tour. As part of this tour, I would involve the school choirs, jazz band, concert band, drumline, and dance teams in the show. They would join me on stage, performing my songs with me. 

I made a stop in Dallas to one of their high schools. The ensembles were all ready for me. They had been rehearsing to my music for the past few months. I showed up the day before our benefit concert. The dress rehearsal went well, and I found out the school had already sold out the show. It was going to be a full house. 

Feeling good, I headed back to my hotel room. it was late afternoon, and I drove past an empty soccer field. I had the random, strange urge to run some sprints. Not sure if anyone in the world has ever driven past an empty field and thought to themselves, "that fields lookin' mighty fresh. I'm gonna run some sprints!" Well, that's what I did. I pulled over and spent the next forty minutes running sprints, like Forrest Gump. 

After the workout, I drove back to the hotel room and started to notice something. My throat was swelling up, and I was struggling breathing. My sinuses were congested, my eyes were itching like crazy. I was experiencing a massive allergy attack. And what's worse, I completely lost my voice. 

Panicked, I race to the pharmacy, grab allergy medicine and all the home remedies and return to the hotel room, breathing in steam from the shower while I drink throat coat and pop some Claritin pills. I go to sleep early, hoping the rest will solve the problem. 

Next morning, my voice is still completely gone. Big show, no voice! I drive back to the high school and explain to the choir teacher what's going on. She can hear it in my voice. I ask her to round up some choir kids to sing my songs for me. I've never seen a more nervous bunch of kids, but they were there and willing to bust out a brand new song in front of a full house that evening. 

A few hours later, it's showtime. The kids are rehearsing back stage, nervously pacing. But there's one kid who doesn't seem nervous. Jordan the trumpet player. He agreed to perform an instrumental version of one of my songs. 

The show begins, I explain the situation to the audience. They can hear me squeaking out words--it's obvious what's going on. I bring one student out after another, and they perform their songs. Some of them are visibly shaking with nerves, but they press through it, performing for a supportive crowd. 

Then out comes Jordan with his trumpet. I begin the song on the piano and he starts dancing. He blasts his trumpet, running all over the stage. The crowd is immediately up on their feet, cheering louder than any crowd should. Jordan is working that crowd like a rockstar, kicking his feet and blowing his horn. He wasn't even playing my song in the right key--he was missing all the notes, but it didn't matter. That crowd loved his confidence. He had the stage presence. 

I learned a lot from Jordan in that moment. I had been stressed this whole time about letting everyone down, I hadn't taken the time to live in the moment. Jordan didn't care his performance wasn't perfect. He was ok with almost being enough. And because of that, he lived in the moment and showed the rest of us how. Everyone in that crowd had experienced the intense nerves of all the previous performances. For the first time in the show, they could let loose and enjoy it. Jordan set the tone for the night. 

It's easy to get caught up on our own high expectations. When we demand perfection, we're usually disappointed. While we should still do our best, we need to let go of our expectations and take a page from Jordan's book to live in the moment. Because "Almost is Enough!"

"Shaun's a master of his craft and a wonderful role model for all people, not just students." - Earl Hurrey, former Walt Disney Entertainment Manager and Deputy Executive Director of the National Association for Music Education. 

A thrilling message and musical performance

Students, teachers, and parents constantly praise Shaun's powerful insights and unique approach for competitive problem-solving and innovation.

Shaun is one of the most entertaining and inspiring talents of our time. Mix in an Emmy-nominated artist, add his captivating storytelling and wild musical challenges, top it off with a message that'll pierce you directly to the heart, and you have Shaun Barrowes. His content and performance are both youth-tested and parent-approved! 

About Shaun Barrowes

Award-Winning, Bestselling YA Fantasy Author


Emmy-Nominated Composer for his song, "Army of Kings"


Top 30 Contestant on 
American Idol, Season 7

Performer with Bands/Artists including: Janelle Monae
Imagine Dragons 
Lindsey Stirling

Songwriter for Jackie Chan and his Green Heroes tour

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Songwriter, Music Producer, and Video Co-Producer for "Being Awesome", with almost 430 Million Views on YouTube

Singer and Songwriter for the theme song "Light of the Day/Dark of the Night" for Shadow Complex by Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite. 

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Winner of $30,000 Songwriting contest, Slice the Pie

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Featured Guest performer for Drum Corps International and Bands of America at Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis), and for Fame ShowChoirs National Championship

Producer and Performer of Reel Sessions at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios in London

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