I play erhu...and it's a fun instrument. I have played violin for a few years, so learning the erhu was not too hard by any stretch. I hate the way the notes are taught though, I am so used to western note systems that the numbers and stuff...it's just too confusing. I guess it is easier for a newcomer though... The thing about the erhu...it is limited in its vocal capabilities, kinda like a harmonica only has so many notes. The violin, for example, or the piano has, in comparison, an infinite scope of notes. However, where this instrument shines is its ability to express emotion. All instruments have that ability when played correctly, but nothing really brings you back like the erhu, I love its sound and it is quite unique. Learning the notes doesn't take that long, neither does pure technique, but expressing yourself...ay there's the rub But if you have any questions, i'll be sure to answer...
also...probably the most important instrument to the chinese is the gu qing. If you saw Kung Fu Hustle, the music assassins in the movie? One of them plays this instrument sitting down and plucks strings? Yah thats a gu qing. Or in Jet Li's Hero? When the guy with the spear...Sky? fights Jet li? And the old guy is playing that instrument? Yup thats it. It was considered to be one of the three traits of a noble. Play the gu qing, calligraphy, and poetry I believe. Its a very VERY rare instrument though...so gluck on finding a teacher rofl!