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


Member Profiles, On the Cover

Abe Lagrimas, Jr.

Firmly Rooted in the Aloha Spirit Growing up in Hawaii isn’t all sun, surf, and palm trees. Okay, well, maybe it is. But for a budding musician, that can present its own challenges. “Like any other kid learning an instrument, video games and television are a distraction,” says Abe Lagrimas, Jr., a jazz drummer, vibraphonist, […]

Francisco Joubert Bernard: Harnessing the Collective Power of Solidarity

Between teaching, touring as second bassoon with the Louisville Orchestra, and playing with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, it’s a wonder Francisco Joubert Bernard of Local 11-637 (Louisville, KY) has time for anything else. But he is a firm believer that orchestra musicians need to take an active part in their organization’s governance. For Joubert […]

Lesa Terry: Music Builds Many and Varied Bridges

Lesa Terry of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) was still in school when Leonard Bernstein came to her sister’s house. “It was my first time playing at the Hollywood Bowl,” she recalls. It was with a training orchestra through the Los Angeles Philharmonic. “Bernstein was conducting. And let me tell you, that was an experience […]

Chester Thompson: A Career Built on Variety

Name a style of music, and Chester Thompson of Locals 257 (Nashville, TN) and 47 (Los Angeles, CA) has probably had some experience playing it. For example, he was a drummer with the jazz fusion band Weather Report, and from there moved to the completely different job of touring drummer for Genesis. “Oh, and in […]

Violinist Bruce Dukov Reaches Record in Film Performance 

Bruce Dukov may be one of the most famous violinists you’ve never heard of. Behind the screen, in the world of film and TV music, he’s left an indelible mark. His virtuosic solo playing accompanied the comedic antics of Leslie Nielsen in the film Wrongfully Accused, and in Analyze This, he showcased an opulent solo with passages […]

January IM Cover

Georgia Stitt: Building Equity in the Workplace  

Asked if she was aware of a gender bias early on in her aspiring Broadway career, Georgia Stitt of Local 802 (New York City) pauses a moment to consider. “I don’t think I had experienced it yet at that level,” says Stitt. “I remember specifically saying to someone in college that I wanted to be […]

Raul Agraz: From Caracas to New York, A Trumpet Player’s Journey

Venezuelan trumpet player Raul Agraz, member of Local 802 (New York City), says decades ago, when he was growing up, his home country had many similarities to the United States. “It was a fairly prosperous country, and it was a melting pot much like the US. Musicians from all around the world lived and worked […]

AFM Entertainment Spotlight: Jennifer Wharton’s Bonegasm

Jennifer Wharton’s BonegasmLeader Name: Jennifer WhartonMember: Local 802 (New York City)Genre: Jazz Bio: Jennifer Wharton is a low brass specialist based in New York City. Though getting her start classically, Wharton has deep roots in jazz, commercial, chamber, and Broadway music. Wharton leads the trombone-forward ensemble, Bonegasm, commissioning over 30 works from jazz heavyweights and […]

September International Musician Cover

Sidney Hopson: In This Together

Advocates for More Equitable Music Spaces By Cherie Yurco, IM staff writer Talking to Sidney Hopson of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) on a Sunday afternoon, he’s slightly groggy and recovering from a marathon gig in Orange County playing Danny’s Elfman’s show “From Boingo to Batman to Big Mess & Beyond!” “For the percussionists, it’s […]

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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