Ms. Susan R. Kempter

Violin, Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education Teacher, Administrator / Teacher Trainer

Susan Kempter

SAA Member

Susan Kempter, is a specialist in interdisciplinary applications to music teaching and learning, Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of New Mexico, Founder/Director of String Pedagogy and the UNM Lab School.

UNM offers a Bachelor of Music, and a Master of Music in String Pedagogy. She is a registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, where she served on their Teacher Trainer Development Committee and on their national Nominating Committee. Susan also has been President of the New Mexico Chapter of The American String Teachers Association [ASTA] and served as Private Teacher’s Forum Editor for The American String Teacher. She was also an ASTA Consulting Editor, and Chair of the National Certificate Committee. In 1998, she was awarded the Citation for Exceptional Leadership and Merit for ASTA, and was awarded Studio Teacher of the Year by the New Mexico Chapter of ASTA in 2006. In 2009, Susan was awarded the prestigious “Bravos Award for Excellence in Music” by the Albuquerque Arts Alliance. She served on the board of the New Mexico Chapter of ASTA for over 17 years—as President, member of the board, and editor of the state newsletter.

Before her work at the University of New Mexico, Susan founded the Albuquerque Suzuki School, as well as the Suzuki violin prep program at the College of Santa Fe. She ran student retreats at Hummingbird Music Camp for many years, began a series of student performances at the Rio Grande Zoo and created the student touring group, Mad About Music, which has performed in Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Ireland, Mexico, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Washington DC. Many of her private students have soloed with the Albuquerque Youth Symphony and with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra.

She has two published books: “Between Parent and Teacher: A Teacher’s Guide to Parent Education”, originally published by SHAR, Inc. [now available via her web site:] “How Muscles Learn: Teaching the Violin with the Body in Mind”, published by Alfred. A third book, “Folk Melodies of New Mexico and the Southwest” [a graded course of study for young violin students] will be published in the Spring of 2016 by UNM Press. She is also doing research on a fourth book about human cognition and music teaching and learning.

Susan has presented sessions at many clinics, symposia and conferences, including: The American String Teachers Association, Suzuki Association of the Americas, Music Teachers National Association, National Association of Physical Therapists. Research symposia include: Northern Arizona University, National Talent Education Research Symposium, and at two UNM College of Fine Arts Research Symposia.

Susan’s education has been eclectic, and has included fields as diverse as nursing, zoology, 17th century literature, cognition, neuropsychology, child development and kinesthetics. She also studied interdisciplinary applications to music learning and teaching, as well as violin performance and pedagogy. Her violin teachers included Harold Wolf, Victor Aitay, Sally Peck [violin and viola], and Leonard Felberg. She studied interdisciplinary applications to music teaching and learning with Dr. William Seymour at UNM, and pedagogy with John Kendall, who became her mentor and friend. In addition to Mr. Kendall, Susan was privileged to take teacher training classes with: Alice Joy Lewis, Doris Preucil, Ted Brunson, Carol Smith and Louise Scott.

When she isn’t working, Susan spends time with her husband, Dale Kempter, nationally known music educator. She loves fishing and has a colony of turtles in her yard, which she finds fascinating.