Café Session “I am Jewish, and I Prosper Hosting Debora Konečná and David Kalhous

Summer café sessions “I am Jewish, and I prosper. “have, for several years, belonged among the constant parts of our program. This year, during the hot summer days, we invited two musicians, Debora Konečná and David Kalhous, to the panel. The debate was, as usual, led by Irena Kalousová, who enriched the debate by her close friendship and familiarity with both guests.

Naturally, the focal point of the debate was music – both Debora and David revealed stories from their early years as musicians, from their studies and family music background. They both emphasized the importance of being led in music by parents and their hard beginnings in a form of drills they experienced as children. David Kalhous spoke on the importance of overall cultural context the children grow up in and its effect on their later interest in the arts – according to David, leading children to have an interest in music is not enough, one has to introduce the children to the world of theatre, arts, literature and architecture. Debora Konečná mentioned a scientifically confirmed fact that if children intensely devote their time to music, play musical instrument and actively make music, it improves their mathematical abilities as well as the abilities to read and analyze text. David Kalhous confirmed this fact and claimed that he has observed this fact with the schoolmates of his daughter, who attends special music school. Debora and David came to an agreement that in music studies, it is very important that the students experience the joy and true interest in music and also expressed that children should start their music studies in their early years so as they do not miss the moment of “the open doors”. In that connection, both of the musicians shared their observation of how difficult it is nowadays to make children be interested in music. We live in the time that has a lot to offer to children. There are plenty of other attractive things around. Moreover, the music classes at elementary schools are often put on the sidetrack as opposed to other subjects, which are considered more important for the practical life of children.

The second part of the Café session was traditionally devoted to Jewish topics. Both guests were asked questions about their Jewish family history. Debora spoke about her natural Jewish life in the times of her childhood, which she likes to remember. She also talked about her parenting and her effort to bring Jewish elements into the life of her children; she tries to introduce those elements in a stable and natural way to her children. David Kalhous talked about his experience as a parent in New York, a city rich in many ways of active Jewish life. At the same time, he talked about his experience as a musician who often associates with environment of left-wing oriented artists, an environment which greatly criticizes current Israeli developments.