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The Day of Open Doors



The Conservative Muse
Originally uploaded by youplayawhat.
On most days, Czech institutions are closed to the general public, making it difficult to get inside unless you have an appointment or official business. However, many places host a den otevřených dveří ("day of open doors"). I am not exactly sure what a day of open doors is, but I gather that it is supposed to be what I would call an open house in the U.S.—an opportunity for people to come tour the company or school so they can find out more about what goes on there.

While visiting my teacher at the Brno Conservatory today, I was told the it was the day of open doors at the conservatory. I thought this would be a good chance to learn what a day of open doors means. By chance, the day coincided with an "Interpretation Seminar," which was basically a studio class, offered by students in the accordion, guitar, and cimbalom studios. These instruments are, strangely, grouped in the department of lidové nástroje (usually translated as "folk instruments," though a more literal translation is "people's instruments"), which I suspect is because they do not fit into any other part of the Conservatory's rather traditionally delinated departments like strings, keyboard, winds, brass, and all that jazz. The seminar consisted of performances by guitarists and cimbalomists. It was nice, I thought, that this was held on a day when prospective students and community members might attend. On most days, stern watchers patrol the door, and you can't get in without a personal ID code and a hand scan (seriously). Once, when the watchman didn't believe that I had official business, the director of the school was called, and I could only go where he accompanied. After the seminar, I had an hour to walk around and check out the open doors. It seemed like a good chance to look at the rest of the school (and there really was not much else to do before my lesson).

I wasn't sure what to expect from the day, but this is what I had read at the school's website:
Den otevřených dveří: Konzervatoře Brno se koná v úterý 7. listopadu 2006, tř. Kpt. Jaroše 45, Brno, základní prezentace školy začíná v 10:00 hodin v koncertním sále Konzervatoře.
Day of Open Doors: taking place on Tuesday, 7 November, Kpt. Jaroše 45, Brno [the address]; the basic presentation of the school begins at 10:00 in the concert hall of the Conservatory.


Call me a literalist, but judging by the name I expected that at least a few doors would be open on the day of open doors. It doesn't even seem like it would be too much to expect one or two people to be standing inside the open doorway and welcoming visitors with a smile, handing out brochures about the school, and directing visitors to the concert hall. This was too much to expect, of course.

I arrived to find the main entrance as closely watched as ever. Luckily, the friendly lady who always lets me in was on duty. The rest of the doors in the building were all closed tightly as usual, except for the computer lab, for which the door probably doesn't work. It is a music school, so obviously they don't want the teaching studios to be competing with each other in volume, but I thought they would at least make an effort to appear interested in opening up to the public. In what I thought was the spirit of the day, I did open a lot of doors for my explorations. However, I'm still confused as to the purpose of the day of open doors.


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