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



Building Power Through Social Media

by Matt Plummer, Organizer, AFM Organizing & Education Division In the last decade, overall use of social media has skyrocketed. People spend almost 2.5 hours a day on average using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Local 1000 Members Honored with Joe Hill Award

For the past 36 years, labor-minded musicians and other artists have gathered at the Great Labor Arts Exchange to celebrate creativity and solidarity. It is a weekend of workshops, films, discussion, poetry, jam sessions, and open mikes, sponsored by the Labor Heritage Foundation. At this year’s gathering, Local 1000 (nongeographic) members Pat Wynne of San […]

Local 4 Partners with Percussion Marketing Council to Bring Music Making to Students

May was International Drum Month and an apt time to launch a collaboration between the Local 4 (Cleveland, OH) Music Fund and the Percussion Marketing Council (PMC). The Rainey Institute in downtown Cleveland provided the connection and venue for hosting the first two performances of four special presentations funded in-part through the PMC’s Percussion in […]

Symphonic Workplace Safety Issues: Part 2

Read part one of the Symphonic Workplace Safety Issues here.  Backstage Lighting Conditions: Colorado Springs Philharmonic by Nathan Kahn, AFM Symphonic Services Division Negotiator: The orchestra’s CBA states in part: “… The Employer shall ensure that adequate lighting is maintained at all services, backstage and on stage. Maintaining adequate lighting shall mean having either full stage lighting […]

Symphonic Workplace Safety Issues: Sound and Lighting Levels

by Nathan Kahn, AFM Symphonic Services Division Negotiator The symphonic workplace, be it on stage or in the pit, presents a variety of hazards to musicians. High decibel sound levels are an ongoing issue for symphonic musicians, but certain concerts have evolved into a much more dangerous situation as Nashville Symphony and Local 257 (Nashville, […]

Planned Opera with “Virtual” Orchestra Sparks Online Cultural Revolution

by Michael Manley, AFM Touring/Theatre/Booking Division Director and Assistant to the President  Throughout his career and long after, composer Richard Wagner’s works have courted controversy—for their outsized scale, their uncomfortable politics, and for the Herculean demands they place on singers and musicians. His crowning achievement: a four-opera cycle, nearly 17 hours all told, telling one […]

Legal Protections for Ill or Injured Musicians: the Basics of the ADA and FMLA

by Rochelle G. Skolnick, AFM Symphonic Services Division Counsel, Schuchat, Cook & Werner The work of a professional symphony musician is extraordinarily demanding—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Evolution has imperfectly prepared the human body for the task of mastering Shostakovich and Strauss, the violin or the oboe.

Electronic Media Guarantees

by Deborah Newmark, AFM Symphonic Services Division Director of Symphonic Electronic Media Electronic media guarantees (EMGs) have existed for decades but are not always well understood. What are they? How did they come into existence? How are they meant to be used? This article will explore the often confusing world of EMGs. What is an […]

Political Advocacy Is Fun and Rewarding

by Mark Tetreault, AFM Symphonic Services Division Canada Director Orchestral musicians often look for ways to help their organizations apart from their musical contributions. Musicians serve on boards and committees, organize and participate in special events, attend social functions, and so forth. 

Corporatizing the American Symphony

by Christopher Durham, AFM Symphonic Services Division Chief Field Negotiator As we review the past five or six seasons we begin to assess the results of the worst concessionary bargaining the symphonic industry has experienced. It’s difficult to deny, and easier to suspect, that such behavior was calculated by our industry rather than being a […]