”Connecting with students and inspiring them to make music a part of their lives is very rewarding to me.
Middle School, Music Teacher
By Stacy Yuen
For as long as he can remember, music has been an integral part of Michael Lim’s life.
Born and raised in East Oʻahu, Lim, started playing the piano at age four. At seven, he picked up the violin, performing through his years at Punahou School and as a member of the Hawaiʻi Youth Symphony.
Quick to admit he never enjoyed practicing in his youth, Lim says an opportunity in the summer before his senior year of high school helped set him on his future path.
“I attended a string camp at Indiana University and was blown away by the level of playing by these little kids,” he recalls. “They were playing pieces that were more difficult than anything I could play.”
He made the decision to pursue music with aspirations to perform professionally and was accepted into Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
“Being in that environment made me want to work harder and I began to practice seriously,” he says.
In 2011, Lim earned a bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance. A master’s degree followed in 2013.
He returned to Hawaiʻi with plans to teach private violin lessons, took some education classes, and discovered a love for the classroom. He earned a certificate in Music Education from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2015.
“I had found my niche,” says Lim. “Connecting with students and inspiring them to make music a part of their lives is very rewarding to me.”
In January 2016, after a semester of student teaching at Niu Valley Middle School, Lim landed a part-time job at Mid-Pacific as a part-time vocal ensemble teacher. Today he continues teaching middle school vocal ensemble as well as beginning, intermediate and advanced orchestra.
Lim says he realizes most of his students are not going to pursue careers in music, but his goal is to inspire and help them pick up some valuable life skills along the way.
“Music teaches social skills like communicating and collaborating with others,” he says. “I hope that as my students enter adulthood, they can still find joy in music – by going to concerts, listening to music and including it in their lives.”
Lim also performs as a violinist as a member of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra (HSO). His wife, Yuseon Nam, whom he met while both were students at Indiana, is also a violinist with the HSO. They are parents to daughter Rena who was born in 2019.