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



jay blumenthal

Jay Blumenthal – AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

    Musicians Foundation: Offering Support to Professional Musicians and Their Families for More than 100 Years

    Founded in 1914, Musicians Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to musicians and their families in times of need, crisis, or transition.

    Now, I hope I’ve gotten your attention because this is an organization that has been dedicated to supporting professional musicians for more than a century.

    Musicians Foundation was incorporated by the New York Musicians Club The Bohemians. Members and supporters over the last century have included many distinguished artists and philanthropists such as Pablo Casals, Jascha Heifetz, Elkan Naumburg, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arthur Rubinstein, Gustav Schirmer, Charles Steinway, Isaac Stern, and Arturo Toscanini. Legacy gifts have been an important resource of funds for Musicians Foundation aid grants.

    Who Is Eligible?

    In order to be considered for an aid grant from Musicians Foundation, a candidate must have worked as a professional musician for at least five years and paid their taxes in the United States. Applicants must submit tax statements demonstrating that their principal income is derived from work as a musician. A screening committee reviews all grantees to confirm the validity of each individual application, including review by a physician in cases of medical need, as well as evaluation by a licensed social worker.

    How Does It Work?

    That said, for those who meet the requirements, Musicians Foundation has provided support nationwide to thousands of musicians across all genres. It offers the assistance necessary for them to weather financial difficulties and personal setbacks with dignity and security. Funds raised through concerts, events, annual dinners, and bequests, as well as generous individual donations, have enabled Musicians Foundation to spend a century giving back to the people who make the music, reflecting on its “shared source of joy, inspiration and incomparable, irreplaceable artistry.”

    Support includes one-time assistance for periods of acute need (medical crisis, crime victimization, etc.), as well as ongoing help for long-term costs, including nursing home and hospice care. Funding is given in the form of direct payment to vendors, such as medical practices, housing rental authorities, and insurance companies.

    How to Donate/Apply

    Visit to learn more about Musicians Foundation and read its latest news and true stories of support. There you can apply for support or, better yet, make a donation.

    If you have any questions about the application or the application process, call or email Musicians Foundation at (212) 239-9137 or


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    Please find the clickable versions of the above links below:

    Facebook page:
    Pre-application (first of two parts):
    Recent article in Chamber Music:

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    Emergency Relief Fund: New AFM-ERF Coming Soon

    During the last hurricane season, many will remember the three devastating storms that hit Texas (Harvey), Florida (Irma), and Puerto Rico (Maria). Pictures on the news showed the flooding and destructive wind damage that left many residents reeling from these storms. Homes, automobiles, and personal possessions were heavily damaged, not to mention musical instruments that were destroyed. Venue closings resulted in lost work for musicians. These hurricanes killed hundreds of people and caused more than $200 billion in damage.

    Many AFM members wanted to donate money to help other AFM members adversely affected by these hurricanes. To facilitate donations, the AFM set up a Hurricane Relief Fund page so assistance could be distributed. Many generous donations were received, resulting in more than $40,000 to assist members. We received several applications from Texas and Florida, but very few relief fund applications from Puerto Rico. I know that many of our Puerto Rico members are still getting back on their feet, so we expect there are application submissions yet to come. If you were adversely affected by the hurricanes, had significant uninsured, uncompensated losses, were and are currently an AFM member in good standing, and have not applied for assistance, I urge you to do so.

    However, hurricanes were not the only catastrophes that caused heavy losses for musicians. You may well remember the terrible California wildfires that swept through the San Francisco area and the hills surrounding Los Angeles. We received a request to help these AFM members as well. Since the Hurricane Relief Fund donations were given specifically for hurricane relief, the AFM International Executive Board (IEB) felt it needed to distribute hurricane funds for hurricane relief only.

    However, the IEB decided at their meeting last March to create a generic AFM Emergency Relief Fund (AFM-ERF) so that assistance could be made available (at the discretion of the IEB) for other types of catastrophic events, such as the California wildfires. The IEB approved the allotment of $10,000 from the AFM General Fund as seed money to set up the AFM-ERF with the stipulation that, once the AFM-ERF is well-funded from donations, the IEB could return the AFM-ERF seed money back to the AFM General Fund.

    We are in the process of establishing the AFM-ERF and creating an application form for catastrophic events. The involvement of locals will be part of the vetting process for members to receive assistance from the AFM-ERF, in the same way locals are involved with Hurricane Relief Fund assistance.  When we have the AFM-ERF up and running, an e-mail blast announcing the new fund will go out to local officers and AFM members.

    AFM Annual Report

    The 2017 AFM Annual Report is available for viewing and downloading on the AFM website. After login using your AFM ID and password, go to the Document Library. Then click on the Financial Documents and Annual Report folder to find the 2017 AFM Annual Report, along with other financial documents. After downloading it from the website, you may read it or print it on your printer.

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    The International Musician Survey Results Are In!

    The International Musician survey results are in. A total of 4,254 individuals completed the survey and much was learned from those who participated. Below is some general information about those responding and their IM reading habits.

    IM Survey Statistics

    International Musician Survey Results

    Click To Enlarge

    • Almost every local has members who responded (174 locals responded; 13 locals had no members respond).
    • Respondents overwhelmingly work as full-time, professional musicians, but some are students or retired. (78% of respondents identify as professional musicians, 13% identify as retired, 6% as amateur, and 2% as students)
    • Respondents, like our membership, work everywhere there is music. Approximately half identify as freelancers. In the past year, 51% have primarily worked as freelancers, 21% in symphonies, 11% in teaching, 5% in recording, 4% in theaters, and 8% have not worked as a musician. (See genre chart at right for more specific information.)
    • 89% of respondents regularly read the magazine. (At least every two or three months)
    • Most International Musician respondents read half or more of the magazine. (54% of those reading IM every two to three months)
    • Most respondents (73%) would prefer to read International Musician in print, if they had to choose between print or online versions.
    • Overwhelmingly, International Musician respondents rated the magazine good or excellent. Content (79%), cover (84%), ease of reading (82%), layout and design (77%), and writing (76%) were rated “good” or “excellent.”
    • Musicians are always looking for their next gig and most never miss reading the audition ads, but the majority of International Musician respondents enjoy [most] all the sections. Every section was rated “very much enjoy, always read” or “enjoy, read occasionally” by a majority—54% to 89%. (See table on right for section details.)
    • Cover stories are the most popular content. (89% “very much enjoy, always read” or “enjoy, read occasionally”)
    • But not everyone loves everything. Some respondents would like more content about the genres they work in and/or less content about genres they are not involved in. That’s why we are always sure to represent the diversity of our membership and cover a variety of musicians and genres.

    International Musician Suggestions from Survey Respondents

    International Musician Survey Results

    Click To Enlarge

    • More practical career advice

    • More content that features “regular” working musicians

    • Less procedural, bureaucratic, and organizational detail (This was the most common area respondents did not care for or wanted to see less of in International Musician.

    [Publisher’s Note: As the IM is the official journal of the AFM, publishing new rules or regulations, notices, agreements, etc. is a necessary and vital function of the IM.]

    • Travel and touring content

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to the survey. It is our desire to make the IM as relevant and interesting to our readers as possible. We always welcome your comments and suggestions.

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    AFM Updates Sexual Harassment Policy

    Sexual harassment is a form of illegal discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At the March AFM International Executive Board meeting, the board adopted an updated sexual harassment policy that is unambiguous and instructive. The policy applies to all AFM employees whether they work in our New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, or Washington, DC, offices, as well as those AFM employees who work “on the road” (international representatives and negotiators/organizers).

    The updated policy is one part of a three-part initiative in response to heightened awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace. This initiative includes: (1) updates to the AFM sexual harassment policy, establishing zero tolerance for sexual harassment; (2) training on the new policy for all AFM staff, with an emphasis on preventing sexual harassment, recognizing it when it occurs, and reporting it to AFM leadership so it can be dealt with appropriately; and (3) providing guidance for AFM local officers who receive complaints from members about sexual harassment occurring in AFM-represented workplaces.

    sexual harassment

    AFM Director of Symphonic Services and Special Counsel Rochelle Skolnick is leading the training for US AFM employees. She has also created a training module for local officers and will be presenting it at AFM regional conferences this year. Skolnick observes, “We are at a moment as a society when there is less tolerance than ever before for the sexualization of workplace interactions, ranging from off-color banter to abuse of power in an attempt to attain sexual control. By providing these resources to all AFM staff and local officers, the AFM takes a strong stand against abusive behavior and in support of a workplace culture that values the full participation of all individuals.”

    The first staff training sessions took place April 4 in the AFM New York City office. Copies of the Sexual Harassment policy were distributed to those attending, followed by a 30-minute training presentation. Attendance at one of the two sessions was mandatory. Additional sessions will be held for the Los Angeles and Washington, DC, offices. There will be virtual training presentations (via GoToMeeting) for AFM staff who work on the road.

    The AFM Canadian Office staff attended a Toronto workshop entitled “Respect in the Workplace,” presented by Niagara Street HR Consulting Inc. on April 9. It covered legislation (anti-workplace harassment, sexual harassment, violence, and bullying), employer/employee reporting responsibilities, and how to report. The workshop also covered Ontario Labour and Employment law and gave an overview of the Canada Labour code.

    The AFM is firmly committed to a workplace environment that is free from sexual harassment. Training AFM employees serves to educate our staff and sends a strong and clear message that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. 

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    Updates From the Secretary-Treasurer's Desk

    List of Locals

    Recently the List of Locals booklet was updated and uploaded to the website. We are in the process of mailing hard copies of the 2018 booklets to all AFM locals. If you have not received your office copies yet, they should be arriving soon. Changes to the List of Locals are updated on our website regularly and are announced in the International Musician. Any changes to your local’s information should be sent by email to AFM Executive Assistant Nadine Sylvester ( with a copy to AFM Assistant Secretary Jon Ferrone (

    Disney Campaign

    The campaign to increase pay for many Disneyland workers is underway. It has been reported that some workers cannot make ends meet due to their low wages. Some of them sleep in their cars and shower at the park before starting their shifts. A coalition of unions, including AFM Local 7 (Orange County, CA), have been hard at work shining a light on this intolerable situation. To learn more, see the article by AFM Local 7 President Bob Sanders on page 12 in this issue of the IM.


    AFM membership numbers continue to decline. At year end 2016 we had 69,386 members and at year end 2017 we had 67,540 (excluding multiple memberships). This represents a decline of 1,846 members. Declining membership remains a serious challenge. The more members we lose, the weaker we become as a union. Declining density has a direct correlation to diminishing power in the workplace. We must build our membership, if we are to remain healthy and strong. Resolution No. 1, adopted by the 2016 AFM Convention delegates states:

    “… That the AFM implements and makes available an officer training program with the focus on membership retention and recruitment as well as general office procedures, as a means of combating declining Federation membership.”

    The officer training program has begun its second year. Judging from exit survey responses, those who have participated in the training give it high marks. It’s too early to tell if the training program will have the desired positive effect on our membership numbers. Much of the results will depend on training participants putting into practice what they have learned from the program.

    Purchase of a Floor for AFM Office

    After months of negotiations with the seller of a floor within a building in lower Manhattan, the deal has fallen apart. We were very close, but at the eleventh hour, the seller walked. There are currently no other floors available for purchase in lower Manhattan that meet our space requirements. Purchasing space in midtown Manhattan is not an option due to the high prices. As you might imagine, this is very disappointing for both AFM President Ray Hair and me. We are exploring the possibility of leasing space in our current building (but on a different floor) or leasing space in another building. Our current lease expires January 2019.

    Lester Petrillo Fund

    A total of 48 recipients received a distribution from the Lester Petrillo Fund in 2017. These distributions totaled $20,025.

    Hurricane Relief Fund

    The Hurricane Relief Fund (for hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria) received $27,252.55 in PayPal donations, less $904.54 in PayPal fees, leaving $26,348.01. An additional $13,665 in check donations was received, bringing total contributions available for disbursement to $40,013.01. Disbursements to applicants in 2017 totaled $7,000. We continue to receive additional applications for hurricane relief and will continue to make disbursements in 2018.

    Upcoming LCC/PCC Meeting

    The Locals Conferences Council/Player Conferences Council (LCC/PCC) meeting will take place Saturday, June 16 and Sunday, June 17, at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas.

    2019 AFM Convention

    The AFM Convention will take place next year (2019) at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas. Registration will begin Sunday, June 16, 2019 and the Convention will adjourn Thursday, June 20, 2019.

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Official Journal of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada