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 www.afm.org/join.

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Member Profiles

Ilya Toshinskiy

Nashville Picker is One-of-a-Kind You don’t often hear a Music City drawl layered on top of a Russian accent, but that’s far from the only way that Nashville picker Ilya Toshinskiy is one-of-a-kind. Born in Obninsk, a small city about an hour south of Moscow, Toshinskiy got his childhood musical start on the classical guitar. […]


Catherine Sheridan

For This Trumpet Player, No Such Thing As Too Busy In case you think you’re doing too much, consider trumpet player Catherine Sheridan: a full-time civil engineer who heads up major infrastructure projects for New York State, she is also a near-full-time freelancer in pit orchestras for Broadway touring productions and a member of two […]


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 […]


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 […]


Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin

Beyond Music, Boston Flutist Sue-Ellen Hershman-TcherepninFinds Ways to Make a Difference Intersectionality: it’s a word that Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin says is sometimes overused, but it nevertheless applies to most areas of her life. A Massachusetts native, freelance flutist in the Boston area, and flute teacher at MIT, Hershman-Tcherepnin is also heavily involved in local refugee and […]


#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 […]


A Conversation with Double Bassist Joel Quarrington

Joel Quarrington, a life member of Local 149 (Toronto, ON) and Local 180 (Ottawa, ON), has served for over 30 years as the principal double bassist of many ensembles including the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony, Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra. He also teaches at the University of Ottawa […]


Jazz Pianist Fred Hersch Deals Creatively with Isolation

Fred Hersch of Local 802 started playing piano at age four, and has since become one of the most prominent jazz pianists and educators in New York City.


Multi-Instrumentalist James Pennebaker Ready to Return to the Road

Musical rebellion isn’t just for rock-and-rollers, though country and blues multi-instrumentalist James Pennebaker did spend a bit of time playing around with rock as a kid when he supplemented his classical violin studies with British Invasion records.


Karen Schnackenberg: Orchestra Librarians Are Also Essential Workers

Karen Schnackenberg has been principal librarian of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) for nearly 30 years, and is still working through this pandemic.








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