There are so many reasons that parents choose to pay for music lessons for their children, and they often have nothing to do with the music itself. Often, the parents hope music will help their child academically or help them get a scholarship. If your child doesn't enjoy playing an instrument, they won't stand out. They might be technically good at it, but their performance will lack the qualities that make great musicians if their heart isn't in it.
Besides, there really isn't any financial benefit in the music scholarships offered to students who aren't majoring in music. These scholarships aren't intended to encourage you to choose this school over that one the way sports scholarships are. The purpose of a music scholarship is to fill spots in a band or orchestra because there often aren't enough music majors at a public university to support large ensembles. In other words, the school provides these scholarships as an incentive for students who have already been accepted to participate in these ensembles, and they don't need to make that incentive large enough to compete with other universities.
Most Treble Strings students pay $85/month for lessons. That's $1020 per year. Now, let's say a child starts taking violin lessons around the age of 10. They will probably rent an instrument for at least the first two years, at around $30/month.
$1020 + $360 = $1380
$1380 x 2 = $2760
So, in the first two years, this student's parents have already invested $2760 in learning to play the violin.
After the first two years, the student owns the instrument, so they no longer have rental payments. However, violins that are used regularly are going to need new strings and bow hair at least once a year. So let's estimate that will cost about $100 per year over the next two years.
$1020 + $100 = $1120
$1120 x 2 = $2240
$2240 + $2760 = $5000
Now, in high school, things change. There is going to be a lot of pressure to do a lot of activities in hopes of getting into a good college, and if the student's scholarship hopes are riding on the violin, then they want to stay ahead of the competition. So they join a youth orchestra. Annual tuition for youth orchestras varies significantly, but let's assume this one is about $500 annually over four years.
$1020 + $500 = $1520
$1520 x 4 = $6080
$6080 + $5000 = $11,080
Also, once students advance to a certain point, they will need an upgrade so that they won't be limited by their instrument. That's going to cost at least $2000, but it might be more than $5000. The student might also begin using more expensive strings and will perhaps have them changed twice a year instead of once, so let's increase that annual maintenance cost to $300.
$300 x 4 = $1200
$1200 + $2000 + $11,080 = $14,280
That is not accounting for other potential expenses that vary too much to estimate: rosin, sheet music, orchestra uniforms, string camps, master classes, transportation to and from events or the violin shop. It is very easy to invest over $20,000 in a child's violin lessons between the ages of 10 and 18, not even considering the fact that some students are a lot younger when they start taking lessons.
Now, this would all be worth it if playing the violin could get you a full-ride scholarship because college is going to cost you a lot more than $20,000. As I mentioned above, most music scholarships, especially for students who aren't majoring in music, are very small. This student will perhaps receive only a few hundred dollars per year for participating in a university's orchestra.
There are so many benefits to learning to play an instrument, and you are absolutely investing in your child's future by paying for them to do so. But if you're only doing it because you are hoping they will get a scholarship, a savings account and academic or test prep tutoring would be a much better investment.