Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.

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Articles, On the Cover

William Bell: Longtime Soul Man Creates New Legacy For Young Musicians


William Bell began singing in church, but by age 16 he’d moved on to singing “secular” music and won a Mid-South Talent contest and a trip to Chicago to perform with the Red Saunders Band. Upon return to Memphis, he spent the next five years working with and learning from the Phineas Newborn Orchestra.




The Accidentals: Learning from the Challenges of Life on the Road


The first time then-teenagers Katie Larson and Savannah Buist, both members of Local 56 (Grand Rapids, MI) jammed together in 2011 they knew they had something special. The next five years were a blur of learning, creativity, and performing. They’ve graduated with the inaugural singer-songwriter major at Interlochen Arts Academy high school, produced three albums, and toured the country.




Paul Merkelo: OSM Principal Trumpet and international Envoy


Trumpet virtuoso Paul Merkelo of Local 406 (Montréal, PQ), soloist and principal for Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (OSM) since 1995, has been recognized for both his technique and virtuosity. The international performer has been a soloist and has taught master classes in North and South America, Europe, Russia, and Asia.




grace kelly

Grace Kelly: Jazz Prodigy Comes of Age


At 24, but already 10 years into her career, saxophonist, vocalist, composer, and Local 802 (New York City) member Grace Kelly is moving past the label “prodigy” and defining her voice as a jazz musician.




papa funk Neville

Poppa Funk Neville: Keeping New Orleans Funky into the Next Generation


In a career spanning more than six decades, Local 174-496 (New Orleans, LA) member Art “Poppa Funk” Neville is a
legend of the music scene in one of the world’s most musical cities.




John McCutcheon

John McCutcheon: Folk Musician’s Celebrates Activism


McCutcheon’s father bought him his first guitar, a Silvertone from Sears. “That began the long downhill slide into professional musicianship,” laughs McCutcheon




Reggie Watts: Musical Disinformationist


Reggie Watts of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) is making a definite mark on late-night television. For years, in his solo shows, he has entertained by disorienting his audience, referring to himself as a “disinformationist.”




Making Musical History with Alex Lacamoire


To call the musical Hamilton a success is like calling rain wet—it has not only scaled the theatrical heights of Broadway and now Chicago, it has transcended its musical theatre roots to become a worldwide sensation.




Serena Ryder

Serena Ryder Discovers Utopia Through Her World of Contrasts


Canadian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Serena Ryder is known for her vocal range and full voice. A natural talent, the six-time Juno winner has opened shows for Aerosmith and One Republic, and traveled with Melissa Etheridge on her 2011 tour across Canada.




Brent Mason

Behind the Scenes with One of Nashville’s Most In-Demand Players: Brent Mason


One of the most in-demand Nashville session guitarists of the past 30 years, Brent Mason of Local 257 (Nashville, TN) advises young players who would like to become a part of the Nashville music scene to do as he did: Come to Nashville, hang around, pay your dues, and learn the ropes from today’s hot players.










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