Paula Malmivaara started playing the oboe at the Espoo Music Institute with Seidi Palonen. For her vocational studies she continued to the Sibelius Academy, where she studied with Sven-Erik Paananen, Jouko Teikari and Jorma Valjakka. During her year as an exchange student at Malmö Academy of Music she studied with Ole-Henrik Dahl. She has later complemented her studies in Paris with Jacques Tys.

Her orchestra career began in the Vaasa City Orchestra 2004, and then continued in the Tampere Filharmonia as principal oboe in 2005. In 2010 she started her current position as cor anglais player in the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

Malmivaara is a member of the Savonlinna Opera Festival Orchestra and the Zagros Ensemble. She has played chamber music in many different ensembles at several festivals, such as Naantali Music Festival, Korsholm Music Festival, Crusell Music Festival and Oulunsalo Soi Chamber Music Festival. She has performed as a soloist with Joensuu City Orchestra, Oulu Sinfonia, Tampere Sinfonia and the English Chamber Orchestra.