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



Virtual OCSM Conference Yields Insight as We Build Back Better

by Elizabeth Andrews, OCSM Secretary, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Member, and Member of Locals 149 (Toronto, ON) and 293 (Hamilton, ON) From August 4 to 6, 2021, the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (OCSM) held its annual conference, once again meeting online due to the ongoing risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The delegates had met online in mid-June to report on […]

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Recognizing a Lifetime of Continuing Service

As if 53 years manning the principal tuba chair of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) weren’t enough, along with being artistic director of both the ASO’s brass quintet and the Atlanta Brass Society, Michael Moore of Local 148-462 (Atlanta, GA) has dedicated most of those years to serving his colleagues in a dizzying number and […]

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Music Stand Lighting and Your Eyes

Why is stand lighting so important? People play music because they love it. When you have good stand lighting, you don’t give it a thought, and if you are under 40 years of age, you can probably read music by candlelight. But by the time you reach 40, your eyes begin to change, and if […]

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Self-Help Strategies to Improve Mental Health

Long dimmed by the pandemic, lights are coming back on in symphony halls around the country. Clubs are reopening. Musicians are back on the road. But a complete industry recovery is likely more than a year away. The hardship of the last year and the uncertainty of the future are taking a toll on the […]

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New Bill Includes Tax Break for Union Members

As part of the new $3.5 trillion budget plan, labor groups are pushing lawmakers to include a provision that would allow workers to deduct the cost of union dues from their taxable income. Such a tax break could reduce the cost of union membership and encourage more workers to join unions.  One union source says […]

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Sidelining in Motion Picture Films

by Matt Allen, AFM Electronic Media Services Division Contract Administrator In films produced all across the United States and Canada, musicians are regularly employed by film producers for sideline work. Sidelining is when a musician is engaged to “mime” the playing of an instrument on camera, typically to a prerecording that is played back on […]

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How to Future-Proof Your Music

by Carl Schilde, Canadian Federation of Musicians, Contract and Licensing Coordinator Since the dawn of the recording age, tens upon thousands of union contracts have been safely stowed away in dusty storage bunkers beneath the ice sheets of the northern Yukon—all in perfect chronological and alphabetical order. This is just so that, in the year […]

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Getting Paid for Location Recordings Made While on Tour

by Pat Varriale, AFM Electronic Media Services Division Director and Assistant to the President One of the many types of projects the EMSD is involved with is musician recordings that take place at venues in the United States and are ultimately released as sound recordings.  The following narrative describes one case for which the EMSD […]

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Ronnie Milsap: Still Going Strong­

Iconic Musician Ronnie Milsap Is Ready to Hit the Road Legendary musician Ronnie Milsap of Local 257 (Nashville, TN) discovered his love for performing early on. By age 11, he was already a favorite at his family’s church. “I grew up in the Primitive Baptist Church and I started singing in church pretty early,” he […]

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Dystonia Can Derail a Career

Researchers identify dystonia as a neurological disorder characterized by excessive muscle contractions that can result in involuntary, slower movements and abnormal postures. There are several different forms of dystonia, but focal dystonia affects one specific area of the body. This disorder can be disabling to musicians because it causes a loss of muscular control in […]

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