Appropriation vs. Appreciation

The All Around This World curriculum finds inspiration in songs, dances and cultural celebrations from over a hundred countries. How can Jay Sand, founder and lead teacher of the program — a white guy from the U.S. (Philadelphia PA by way of Harrisburg, generations past by way of Eastern Europe’s Pale of Settlement) — teach kids and their families music from cultures that are absolutely not his own?

Jay created All Around This World with the goal of APPRECIATION of all peoples, using music and cultural exploration as a way to connect with them. He introduces songs, dances and celebrations from many countries in order to spark natural curiosity a children (and, with hope, their grownups) possess about the world, and seed affirmative associations with many peoples’ in young children so they may grow to be open-minded, open-hearted citizens of the world.

Though Jay thoughtfully adapts each song in the curriculum specifically so it will most effectively reach young children, at no point does he claim that the original songs are his own. When the original song has a known author or publisher, Jay has gone to great lengths to locate, credit and compensate the composer/ publisher. [And, as a note on the respectful sharing of funds the music generates, he is embarrassingly far away from recouping his investment in paying licensing fees and recording All Around This World’s studio CDs.] When the original song is traditional, Jay endeavors to provide as much context for the music so his students will be able to appreciate the importance of the work.

Jay does everything in his power as a musician and cultural educator to avoid APPROPRIATION of other peoples’ cultural heritage. All Around This World has the mission of exploration, engagement and joyful embrace of many peoples. This is their music, that they created to express the core elements of their culture. All Around This World students are honored to have the opportunity to sing along.