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



Defying the Silence: A Chronicle of Resilience that Saved the World Renowned Minnesota Orchestra

In this book, Julie Ayer of Local 30-73 (St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN) shows how some of the world’s finest musicians went from sitting in the Minnesota Orchestra to standing in the picket line—and how their city rallied around them. The lockout that began on October 1, 2012 became the longest and most infamous work stoppage in […]

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The Alexander Technique:

For Musicians,Every Movement Is Meaningful Music requires some of the most complex and physically demanding movements of any profession, and musicians often risk developing any number of overuse injuries. That’s what makes them the perfect students of the Alexander Technique. They’re naturally disciplined, deeply familiar with the nuances of form and movement—and they are committed […]

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Shaun Tilburg: Percussionist Branches Out in Business

Local 586 (Phoenix, AZ) percussionist Shaun Tilburg has been a member of The Phoenix Symphony since 2013. A committed educator, Tilburg is also a composer, contributing an acclaimed method book, The Regimen, to the snare drum pedagogy. The book subsequently led to other compositions, and ultimately inspired him to launch his own business featuring pieces […]

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National Music Council Honors Vivian Scott Chew and Ray Chew

On Sunday, June 25, during the gala celebration at the AFM Convention, the National Music Council will honor music visionaries Ray Chew of Local 802 (New York City) and Vivian Scott Chew with the 39th annual American Eagle Award. The award, which will be presented by Academy and Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, and actress Regina […]

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Ray Chew: Jack of All Trades, Master of … Seemingly All of Them!

Growing up in Harlem and the Bronx, Ray Chew of Local 802 (New York City) was fortunate to be given opportunities that many other kids in those neighborhoods were not so fortunate to have. This, he says, is thanks to his mother. “My mom sent me to every music program in the city that I […]

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A Visit from the FIM Presidium

by Jay Blumenthal, AFM International Secretary-Treasurer Globalization has created the imperative for the AFM’s continued membership in the International Federation of Musicians or Fédération International des Musiciens (FIM). It has become increasingly important that the AFM has a seat at the table where conversations are taking place between musician unions around the world. Conversations include […]

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Learn from the Past—Transform the Future

by Dave Pomeroy, International Executive Board and President of Local 257 (Nashville, TN) The AFM’s unique history demonstrates a steady pattern of labor and technology intersecting in ways that simply could not have been imagined by those who founded this union in 1896. The constantly evolving relationship between musicians and technology is well documented in […]

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FIM Presidium Visits AFM Office in New York

by Benoît Machuel, International Federation of Musicians General Secretary With the Presidium of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM)*, I had the privilege of being received by the AFM IEB on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, at the AFM headquarters in New York. Initially scheduled for March 2020, this meeting was postponed to December 2021 due […]

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New Strain Adds to Complexity of Lyme Disease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic and health officials from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota, report the discovery of a new species of bacteria (Borrelia mayonii) that causes Lyme disease. Until now, Borrelia burgdorferi was the only species believed to cause Lyme disease in North America. Scientists first […]

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Anjan Shah: Fusing Indian Culture with Western Sounds

For many musicians, drawing on their cultural background provides a wealth of material for creative inspiration. As a first-generation Indian American, saxophonist Anjan Shah of Locals 10-208 (Chicago, IL) and 40-543 (Baltimore, MD) understands this very well. However, it wasn’t an understanding that came to him until much later in his life. “Growing up in […]

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