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


Jason Emerson

Managing Editor, International Musician

Mike Muszynski

Engineering a Musical Community Mike Muszynski loves music. But he also loves to understand how things work. This double passion has guided his life, and is why he is a professional musician who also has an engineering degree and two music-related iPhone apps to his credit. This also goes to the heart of why he […]

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Detroit Fellowship Prepares Oboist for the Career Field

In common with many kids who start on a different instrument, Geoffrey Johnson of Local 5 (Detroit, MI) didn’t come to the oboe until after the fact. “I started on the clarinet,” he recalls, “but my teacher in middle school thought I needed more of a challenge.” Progress was rapid, helped by his environment: “Music […]

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Leland Sklar

Bassist Leland “Lee” Sklar has guided his career by a simple tenet: “Be cognizant of the song.”

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Pianist and Composer Larry Goldings Brings the Jazz Era to Life on Screen

Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Larry Goldings has had an amazing and stylistically eclectic career—from 20 years recording and touring with James Taylor, to numerous artistic collaborations that straddle the realms of jazz and pop, to scoring music for television and motion pictures. But Goldings’ recent project, scoring the Netflix series, Self-Made: Inspired by the Life […]

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Herlin Riley: Groove & Necessary Conversations

Wynton Marsalis once introduced his friend and jazz orchestra drummer Herlin Riley to an audience as, “A master of the New Orleans drum cadence, tambourine, washboard, cowbell, and many other things that can be hit and grooved upon.”  And that is certainly a fitting description. Because to Riley—who has been playing drums since he was […]

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#TakeTwoKnees and #LiftEveryVoice

Union Musicians Protest Racism Clarinetist Anthony McGill of Local 802 (New York City) on May 29 posted a challenge to his social media pages to put a spotlight on racism—and it has gone viral throughout the orchestral community. McGill’s challenge was the result of his feelings over the death of George Floyd at the hands […]

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Emily Levin

The Power of Music to Soothe the “Savage Breast” In a time such as now filled with so much strife and anger, it’s comforting to think that music can soothe the soul (or the “savage breast,” as was written in 1697). It was this power of music, in fact, that ignited in Emily Levin when […]

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The New Reality for Musicians: How Our Union is Working For Us and How We Can All Adapt to the New Environment

The new reality is a digital one, in which musicians have transitioned to online existence in order to keep creating, marketing, and sharing their music.

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Madeline Adkins: Utah Symphony Concertmaster Soars Through the Canyons of Classical Music

Utah Symphony concertmaster Madeline Adkins discusses her journey to the first chair, what a concertmaster’s job entails, and how she has been coping with quarantine.

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The AFM and its Members Respond to COVID-19 Effects on Musicians

While our union officials have been monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and potential impacts on musicians since it first became a global health emergency in late January, once music events began being canceled and restrictions on large gatherings were announced by both US and Canadian officials in early March, that is when the impact on musicians and their livelihoods became stark.

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