• Violinist
  • Violin & viola Teacher
  • Lecturer in Music
  • Specialist in interdisciplinary applications to music teaching and learning
  • Founder/Director: UNM Lab School
  • Founder/Director: String Pedagogy at the University of New Mexico
  • Teacher Trainer, Suzuki Association of the Americas

Nationally, Susan is an active member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and the American String Teachers’ Association. She has served on the SAA 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 and served as Private Teacher’s Forum Editor, Consulting Editor, and Chair of the National Certificate Committee for the American String Teacher. In 1998, she was awarded the Citation for Exceptional Leadership and Merit by the American String Teachers Association.

Locally, she served as President of the New Mexico Chapter of ASTA, and was Editor of the state newsletter for two terms. In 2006, she was awarded Private Studio Teacher of the Year by the New Mexico Chapter of ASTA.

Susan founded the Albuquerque Suzuki School, as well as the Suzuki violin 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 in 1985, created the student touring group - Mad About Music, which has performed in New Mexico, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, California, Washington, Florida, Washington DC, Arizona, Texas and Utah. Many of her students have won the opportunity to solo with the Albuquerque Youth Symphony and with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. In 2009, Susan was awarded the prestigious “Bravos Award for Excellence in Music” by the Albuquerque Arts Alliance.

Currently, she teaches at the University of New Mexico where she developed both a Bachelor of Music and a Masters of Music in String Pedagogy. In addition, she concurrently developed the UNM Lab School, which is a teaching lab for all students studying String Pedagogy. The UNM Lab School has over 150 children enrolled – all of whom are being taught by UNM String Pedagogy students.

She has written two books: Between Parent and Teacher: A Teacher’s Guide to Parent Education, and How Muscles Learn: Teaching the Violin with the Body in Mind. She also wrote a pamphlet entitled Musical Activities for Preschoolers, which is a collection of over 120 activities for parents to do with their young children to promote musical awareness. A fourth book, Folk Melodies of New Mexico and the Southwest is soon to be published. She is also completing research on cognition and music teaching and learning, and hopes to write a series of articles, or another book, on this huge and varied topic.

Susan has presented sessions at many national conferences, including The American String Teachers Association, the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Music Teachers National Association, and the American Physical Therapists’ National Conference. She has also been invited to present at research symposia: Northern Arizona University, International Research Symposium on Talent Education, and the College of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico.

Susan’s education has been an eclectic mixture of formal and informal study - including subjects as diverse as nursing, zoology, 17th century literature, cognition, kinesiology, violin pedagogy & performance, and neuropsychology. She attended DePaul University, the University of Utah and University of New Mexico. She holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees from UNM, where her education continued in its non-traditional tract. By the time she was in graduate school, she was actively pursuing a passionate curiosity about “music teaching and learning” under the direction of Dr. William Seymour, in the Department of Music at UNM. Although a degree in the field she chose did not exist, she was able to accumulate enough knowledge that when he retired, Dr. Seymour requested that she teach a special course he had created, which was a research based investigation into music teaching and learning. She continues her personal pursuits in these fields today.

Her violin teachers have included Harold Wolf, Victor Aitay, Sally Peck [violin and viola], and Leonard Felberg. She studied pedagogy with John Kendall.

Photographs of Susan Kempter's Bisiach courtesy of Robertson & Sons Violin Shop