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



Jake Shimabukuro

He’s played big-name festivals like Bonnaroo and the Montreal Jazz Fest, toured and collaborated with banjo innovator Béla Fleck of Local 257 (Nashville,N), and recorded with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of Local 802 (New York City) . “I love the ukulele and I’m very passionate about it,” says Shimabukuro. “I’m so lucky that I am able […]

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Robert Cray

“I try to take my time to get my point across and don’t get too hyped up,” Cray says. “I understand the role I play. I’m a guitar player and I’m part of a band. I like being a part of the band instead of just the frontman. I think the kind of music we […]

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Sonny Rollins

Rollins’ first stab at music came when his mom signed him up for lessons on the piano. Despite growing up in the birthplace of the Harlem Stride (a style of improvisational jazz piano) mastering the ivories was not written in the stars for Rollins. He preferred playing stickball out in the streets with his contemporaries. […]

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Andy Martin

Stupendous Trombone Career Martin joined Local 6 (San Francisco) some 30 years ago, when he started playing with a Dixieland band at Disneyland during his fi rst year at Golden West College in California. He ended up dropping out of school to focus on his work at Disneyland. “It was a very good thing to […]

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Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Vermont Group Proves Girls Don’t Have to Sit Pretty Behind a Piano Potter drifts in and out of the phone interview, commenting on Popper’s apparel when she sees something she likes or has an important observation: “Those white pants are so hot. Vests would work, but that one is too big.” She apologizes for neglecting […]

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Stanley Drucker

Six-Decade Gig Sixty of those years were spent playing with the New York Philharmonic, and 49 of them were spent in the principal clarinet chair—that is, when he wasn’t in front of the orchestra performing as a soloist. His solo work included about 60 performances of Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, just for starters. Naturally, it […]

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Mark O’Connor

Musical Melting Pot Over the course of the string camps, O’Connor sees growth in the musicians as their different musical styles influence each other and meld together. This actually reflects O’Connor’s own compositions, through which he strives to finally define an American style of classical music. “All of us feel like American music should be […]

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Kendel Carson

Canadian singer/fiddler roots herself in trucks and on the prairie. As a teenager, she got to sit in with one of her favorite bands, Canadian folk-rockers Spirit of the West, by simply asking, “so who’s playing fiddle tonight?” knowing full well that they’ve never had a fiddle in their lineup. Later that night, she joined […]

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Dana Leong

Playing Cello, Trombone—and Laptop—Dana Leong Brings an Energetic Edge to His Melodic Lines In a sense, that career started when the San Francisco-raised musician first picked up the cello in third grade, and then the trombone a year later. “I tried to use my knowledge of both instruments to complete each other’s spectrums,” Leong says, […]

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Six String Theory Competition

Lee Ritenour Local 47 (Los Angeles) is currently running his Six String Theory Competition.  Ritenour’s Six String Theory is a global, non-profit music competition in guitar, bass, piano/keys and drums offering winners professional opportunities in performing, recording, Berklee College of Music scholarships, Yamaha instruments and more. Along with Berklee, Yamaha, Monster, Montreux Jazz Festival and […]

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