Zhou Ruoyu was born in Jiangsu, Nanjing, and started learning erhu under the tutelage of Professor Qi Jianda at the age of seven. In 1996, she successfully enrolled into the affiliated Middle School of the China Conservatory of Music and continued her practice under the tutelage of Professor Duan Yongqiang. Zhou Ruoyu won the “Liu Mingyuan” Scholarship in 2000. Next year, she was awarded the first prize at the 4th “Tianhua Cup” National Erhu Competition.
In 2002, Zhou Ruoyu graduated as a top student and was awarded with the first class scholarship to enter the China Conservatory of Music Instrumental Department, under the tutelage of Professor Zhang Zunlian. She was awarded the honour of “Three Model Students” of Beijing during her academic years. Zhou Ruoyu is a frequent winner at erhu competitions. In 2003, she was awarded the Bronze Award in the 3rd Erhu Competition at the Chinese “Golden Bell Award” for Music. In 2005, she was also awarded the second prize at the “Zhonglu Cup” International Erhu Competition. Zhou Ruoyu was admitted to study for a master’s degree at the same year.