For musicians and their parents: Do hours of practice go in as an activity on the Common App?

Kid is filling out the activities section of the Common App. It’s chock full of stuff, all music related, and high level. But it occurred to me that there is also 1-2 hours/day of individual practicing, nearly 365 days/year, which I realize is nothing compared to string players, but still, it’s a lot of time on top of all the ensemble work During vacations, it might be as much as 3-4 hours/day. It’s so much a given that it would almost seem like putting down eating, showering, or breathing as an activity. Kid is not applying to conservatories (although might apply to dual degree Conservatory/Ivy programs). Clearly, conservatories understand what’s required to get to the level of performance expected, and they don’t concern themselves as much with academic achievement. But as kid’s schools are all academic schools, kid cannot expect that the admissions committee would know that outside of all the many listed hours of music activities, there’s another 7-14 hours/week of simply heavy-lifting practicing, all through the year, needed to be able to perform at this level. If it is put in, it looks like it’s padding, but the reality is, at this level of performance, it’s been a 40 hour/week job outside of regular school hours, all through high school, WITHOUT the practicing hours. With the practicing hours, it’s more like 50 hours/week outside of school, on average, which sounds unbelievable, but when added up (and not including the 6 hours travel time/week to Boston or NYC), it really is that much! No wonder kid never slept. I feel really bad now that we allowed this to happen.

What do you do? Certainly, no one thinks that a world class runner only practices during track team practice. A high-level skater doesn’t only practice during club practice times. A high-level violinist doesn’t only practice during orchestra and string quartet. In fact, most of them at the highest level wind up doing home-schooling so that they can practice 40 hours/day (inside 2-set joke). Do you put practicing down as an activity? Or do you trust that a non-conservatory admissions committee understands that hours of practice are just a given for a musician, as much as eating or breathing?


If he is submitting a music supplement , he can also include this in his music resume, and letters of recommendation an also allude to his hard work and the hours he puts in.