All Around This World class in action

All Around This World is a unique, interactive global music and world cultures program for children 0-9 years old that encourages children and their families to explore the world by enjoying global music, rhythms and movement. Jay Sand, guitarist and children’s music teacher, world traveler and dad of three girls developed All Around This World with his girls as a way to introduce them to the countries he’s already visited and the many more he plans to visit with them.  Through  dynamic online classes,  CDs, concerts and workshopsengaging homeschool and classroom lessons, “musical maps” and participatory parent-child music-making Jay hopes to make the world a bit smaller one song at a time.

All Around This World is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of All Around This World must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Donate here.

How to sing with Jay each week in your home or classroom Support All Around This World on Patreon Enjoy interactive All Around This World lessons in your home or classroom



Jay teaching Livecast classes

COME TO CLASS LIVE WITH JAY, from wherever you’re locked down around the world. This week’s ALL AROUND THIS WORLD LIVECAST CLASSES:

When you click the appropriate link you’ll be able to put an event reminder on a Google Calendar. If you’d like to come to class in Zoom, CONTACT ME FOR THE LOGIN INFO. Ideally we’ll communicate before the day of class, but I do try to check my messages before my first class each day and in the time I have between classes.

All times are U.S. Eastern Time, GMT-4. Registration and tuition details are here.


10am: “Connecting the Dots”

If you can’t login, watch via Facebook Live on All Around This World’s facebook page.

If you’d like to come to class on a regular basis and get lots of information each week about the countries and cultures we’re exploring, REGISTER HERE.

To enroll in amazing online courses that take your family on a musical tour of the world: EXPLORE EVERYWHERE!


Remember to smile!

Today, in the offline world, virus-related realities have really hit home where I live in the U.S. I’ve had to cancel my real-world classes, which makes us all sad. On the other hand, I do have a really substantial wealth of online classes and musical lessons families can enjoy at home. Within the next couple of days I’ll let you know the options. I also intend to keep going, as regularly as is reasonable, with my daily posts, taking us on musical journeys, helping us exercise our minds.

In the meantime, enjoy this video of people making beautiful music in every which way. It made me smile. Don’t forget to do that too.


Today’s Armenian artists respect their nation’s thousands of years of musical tradition but they also find inspiration in music from around the world. One of the most popular, and controversial, contemporary Armenian musical genres is called rabiz, which blends Armenian folk with melodic modern pop. Rabiz is known as “laborer’s music,” a genre of pop that captivates Armenian youth both in Armenia and abroad, especially in Armenian communities throughout Russia and in Los Angeles. Both creators and fans of the catchy dance pop have developed their own street-level fashion and fast-moving, partying lifestyle. One of the giants of ribaz is Tata Simonyan, who is becoming an international pop star. In this video, for our last post of a week exploring Armenian music, we embrace the spirit of ribaz and party with Tata. Tata!

Shake Yer Tash Toosh

In our online class we party down to the Armenian song, “Hele Hele.” While we do so we proudly dance the Armenian party favorite, known lovingly as the Tash Toosh. In class I ask families to imagine themselves at a family wedding, the dancefloor poppin’, then envision the crowd parting to reveal the true breakout star of the party…an uncle who you’ve only previously known to sit in an easy chair in the corner of the living room is up, dancing, and AMAZING! His dance is not graceful and doesn’t really have any moves, but the rump-shaking — and the enthusiastic arm-waving, which almost always comes along…that’s the Tash Toosh. See this cartoon uncle dance it. Now get up and dance it yourself.

Hele Hele Hele Ninnay Eh

“Hele Hele” is an Armenian dance song that originated in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, historically a center of Armenian culture. The song is all about a party: “Tonight is the night of resurrection/Ask the beauties for favors and questions/If every girl should give a kis/The whole world is topsy-turvy….Threre’s going to be a celebration!” In our version of the song, we shake our bottoms as we sing: “We’re going a party and everyone’s invited Hele hele hele ninnay eh, We’re going to a party it will last all night, Hele hele hele ninnay eh, At least until we all get tired, Hele hele hele ninnay eh, Which nowadays is about 7:30, Hele hele hele ninnay eh.”

Komitas and Dear Shogher


Soghomon Soghomonian — commonly known as “Komitas” — was an Armenian priest and early pioneer ethnomusicologist. Following his ordination as a priest he studied music in Germany, applying Western musical training to his documentation of thousands of Armenian and Kurdish folk songs, such as the one we see in this wonderful video, “Shoger Jan,” an Armenian folk song that tells the tale of our beloved Shogher who ventured out onto the mountain before snow started to fall but, since snow began, has not returned: “Clouds have gathered, snow isn’t falling, Dear Shogher, The boy hasn’t come back from the mountain, Dear Shogher, Rock in the wind, wave in the wind, Dear Shogher, Snow has appeared from the clouds, Dear Shogher.” In 1915 the Ottoman Empire deported Komitas, and thousands of other Armenian intellectuals, to a prison camp, as part of the Armenian genocide. He suffered a mental breakdown and, sadly, lived in psychiatric hospitals the rest of his life.

Saint Mesrop Mashtots

The oldest Armenian music predates Christianity and takes the form of melodic chants known as “sharakans,” recorded in a homegrown musical notation called “khaz” that described melodies and modes by noting a voice’s pitch, duration and strength. According to Wikipedia, while some of these chants are ancient, “others are relatively modern, including several composed by Saint Mesrop Mashtots.” (What Wikipedia doesn’t mention is that “modern” Saint Mashtots was born in the year 360 A.D.) Let’s listen to this video of a composition attributed to Mashtots. Chances are, he wrote it on a lunch break while working on the somewhat more important accomplishment for which historians give him credit — inventing the Armenian Alphabet.

Divan and the Duduk

One of Armenia’s most passoinate, often plaintive, ancient instruments, is a woodwind called the duduk. The duduk is a double-reed instrument traditionally made from apricot wood. Ususally duduk players perform in pairs; one player performs the a deeply emotional melody while the second performs a haunting drone. In this video, duduk master Divan Gasparyan takes the lead on the duduk as his friends drone on.

Armenian Music is Everywhere

The music of the Southern Caucasus has its roots in two thousand years of cultural, ethnic and religious struggle, its mere survival a testament to the persistence and communal strength of Georgian, Azeri and Armenian people. While contemporary musicians from the Caucasus readily embrace global genres, especially those who live in emigrant communities in America and Europe, artists who perform the region’s traditional music know that when they’re passing their ancient music to a new generation, they’re doing much more than just singing songs. For example, Armenia has a long, rich history during which its music has had the the chance to establish deep, resonant roots. Today’s Armenian music is a mix of ancient Church liturgy, super-ancient pre-Christian chants, relatively new indigenous folk (only centuries old) and raucously ultra-modern Euro-pop that draws substantially on what came before. Substantial populations of Armenians live and create music not only in their homeland but in many communities abroad. Let’s start the week this video of a musician of Armenian descent, born and raised in the diaspora — Armenian-American oud player Richard Hagoipan.

Georgia on My Mind. And Armenia. And Azerbaijan.

All Around This World: The Caucasus (Georgia)

This week our online class takes us to one of the world’s “roughest neighborhoods” – the Caucasus Mountains, where we sing songs from three countries in the Southern Caucausus —  Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. These three countries enjoy life in an oft-disputed mountain area that’s not only located between the Black and Caspian Seas, but also between three of the world’s great conquering empires — the Persians, the Ottomans and the Russians. Each of the three nations of the Southern Caucasus has its own language, its own culture and its own history. Each also has its own long list of historic struggles, and each has had to face them and press ahead in its own unique way. The three have often had the inclination to unite, first in an unsuccessful attempt after World War I to form the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, then, within the USSR, as part of the Transcaucasian Federation, which disbanded in 1936–but unfortunately, as of late, each of these little countries has had a hard time living beside its neighbors in peace. This we’re going to enjoy some music from the mountains, and not worry so much about our nosy neighbors.