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



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 […]

Colorado Springs Philharmonic Orchestra Reaches Agreement

In late May, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Orchestra (CSPO) musicians and board ratified a new five-year contract. The agreement follows a tumultuous year during which a proposed tentative agreement was rejected in October 2013. The negotiation process involved two committees, two negotiators, and two federal mediators. Major sticking points included attendance policies, service guarantees, travel pay, per service […]

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 […]

Florida Orchestra Appoints New Music Director

The Florida Orchestra (TFO) has announced the appointment of Michael Francis as its new music director with a three-year contract beginning in the 2015-2016 season. Francis will serve as music director designate during the 2014-2015 season, conducting two masterworks programs. Although his primary role is with the Masterworks series, he will also conduct one Raymond […]

Hawaii Symphony Orchestra Extends Contract to 2016

The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and Musicians’ Association of Hawaii, Local 677 (Honolulu, HI), are pleased to announce a new two-year agreement that will run through June 2016. It includes a minimum 14-weeks of employment each year, adding two additional weeks to accommodate more diverse programming and outreach.  HSO’s 2014-2015 season will celebrate the 50th anniversary […]

Performance of “Ring” Cycle Set to Digital Music Postponed

  Performance of “Ring” Cycle Set to Digital Music Postponed A planned Hartford, Connecticut performance of Richard Wagner’s “Das Rheingold,” utilizing digitally-sampled sounds in lieu of a live orchestra, was postponed after several artists withdrew, some citing artistic reservations about the project. Singers, musicians, and fans objected to the idea of using sampled instruments in […]

Detroit Symphony Orchestra Marks Three Years of Subscription Growth

  Detroit Symphony Orchestra Marks Three Years of Subscription Growth Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) saw a third straight year of subscription growth in the 2013-2014 season. The number of subscriptions sold rose across DSO’s five product lines—classical, pops, jazz, family, and neighborhood—and have climbed 24.7% since the 2011-2012 season. The DSO saw strong overall attendance […]

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Receives Record-Setting Gifts

  Chicago Symphony Orchestra Receives Record-Setting Gifts In early June, Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) received two gifts totaling $32 million—the largest in the orchestra’s 123-year history. The Zell Family Foundation made a $17 million gift to CSO’s endowment and general operating funds. The gift will be used to underwrite, in perpetuity, the position of music […]