Pauline Hsu has music education in her DNA. Her father taught violin, and her mother taught piano. “They both had studios at home,” she says, “so I basically grew up in an environment where they were always teaching. It was a natural thing.” Pauline and her sister followed in their parents’ footsteps, and both became music teachers.


Her musical education began at 3 years old when she took up piano. “My first teacher was my mother,” she says. She also loved choir and started taking classical voice lessons at 15. She’s now pursuing her doctorate in musical arts at the University of Minnesota, majoring in opera and voice performance.

She has been teaching for six years and joined MnSOM as a voice and piano instructor in 2021. “It’s a very welcoming environment,” she says of the school. “Everything is very organized, and all of my colleagues are very friendly.” She especially appreciates MnSOM’s unique approach to learning. “I love the teaching system. It helps me when I have to step in for one of my colleagues or if they need to step in for me. It makes things very easy,” she says.

Pauline is originally from Taiwan, but she notes that her home country does not do a lot of opera stage productions. So, she came to the U.S. to further her education. She has been an international student for about four years, and she lives with her senior rescue cat, Mao Mao (his name means “cat cat” in Mandarin). When she’s not studying or teaching, she loves to cook traditional Asian cuisines, including Japanese, Chinese, and Thai.

She’s also particularly passionate about working with her students and getting to know them. “We are all still growing,” she says. “I don’t see them as students, I see them as fellow musicians.” She especially enjoys working with her older students. “They’re teenagers, and they’re growing up,” she explains. When students face a problem, she can often relate to it or help them find a solution. “It helps me to become a better teacher,” she says. “I learn a lot of things from my students every day.”

Though she looks forward to professional performance someday, Pauline has no intention of putting her teaching career on the back burner. “Teaching is just amazing,” she says. “It’s a lifelong growing path.”