Originally Posted by Stone Soup
If he's not practicing on his own, he doesn't really want to play. You can't make a kid want it. Let it go.
OP: I've been in your boat. Oh, how I've been there. You can't sweep water up stairs. You can only try to understand and connect with your son's motivation.
I have one son, now 14, who "tried" drums and guitar a few years ago but didn't stick with it, despite his "promises" to. Yeah, I could have used that money in a lot of other ways. But the instruments are still around in case he ever wants to restart, and I hope he does, because he's got a musical knack.
On the other hand, he plays soccer at the club level and whenever he needs new cleats, he always wants expensive ones. He's old enough that I can insist, "You're out in the yard at least 30 minutes every day working on your foot skills if you want those boots—and if you expect to have a chance to make JV." With soccer, i can push him because it connects to his motivation to improve—it's more of a reminder of what he needs to do to reach his (forgive me) goals.
My other son, 12, plays alto sax in school concert and jazz bands and sometimes at church. Loves the instrument, loves performing, cares about playing well but doesn't really practice until there's a performance coming up to put his feet to the fire. I'm comfortable with that level of commitment in a 12-year-old.
Sometimes he asks about private lessons, but it passes. Next time he does, I'll tell him "no," because he doesn't practice now. Even if he says, "But I will if I have lessons," I'll insist that the practice habit is in place before I unbelt for lessons. I know how this works!
So what's my point? In life, music, sports, work, no one can motivate someone else—one can only motivate oneself.
I understand if you're disappointed (I've felt the same way), but as has been said before: he's a boy.
It's the rare 10-year-old boy who will practice any instrument without prodding. It's just the way young boys are. My parents sent me to piano lessons in second grade, then it was clarinet in 4th grade. Yawn—I think I did it because I felt I was supposed to. They never rode me about practicing, and I didn't. I knew I liked music, but it wasn't until 9th grade when I fell in love with an instrument: the bass guitar.
If your son doesn't have the love/desire in him right now, I'm afraid he's only going to take the drums so far. Try to recognize the fine line between encouragement and pushing, and try not to cross it.
And as far as the money is concerned, it absolutely sucks to feel you're throwing it away (ESPECIALLY these days), but sometimes you just have to look at it as a cost of doing the business of parenting. That "sacrifice" thing.
It sounds like your heart's in the right place. Be patient, be loving, be there.
Good luck, man.