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

Rachel Nesvig

Hardanger Fiddler Rachel Nesvig on Finding Her Niche and Learning to Let Go Rachel Nesvig was 16 years old the first time she truly experienced the music of a Hardanger fiddle, the national folk instrument of Norway. “I remember sitting on a pillow on the ground and being maybe three feet away from [educator] Karin […]


Alex Acuña

For Drummer Alex Acuña, His Storied Career Has Been a Mix of Talent and Opportunity Some say the term “living legend” gets tossed around a little too often. But when you’re the drummer of choice to lay down the beat behind household names for more than half a century, the title is not only accurate—it’s […]


Bass Clarinetist and Activist Beverly Setzer Believes Unions Help Both Sides

Most musicians involved in unionism can point to a moment that clearly illustrates why they believe in the power of organized labor. For clarinetist Beverly Setzer of Local 76-493 (Seattle, WA), that moment came shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic. “Back when we were still playing live performances, I worked at a jazz club in Seattle,” […]


From Jazz to Tango, Violinist Jeremy Cohen Plays Fearlessly

If your tango isn’t tinged with mugre, explains violinist Jeremy Cohen of Local 6 (San Francisco, CA), it will lack depth.


Pedro Eustache


Flutist and world woodwind player Pedro Eustache on El Sistema, the preciousness of family and heavenly grace.




Mayuto Correa: Multi-Instrumental Renaissance Man

Mayuto Correa isn’t much for labels and never lets tradition stop him from exploring new interests. This is true in the Latin Jazz-influenced music he plays—he is equally respected as both a guitar player and a percussionist, pushing genre boundaries with both—but also in the rest of life. Beyond music, Correa is or has been […]


The Many Jazz Hats of Leigh Pilzer

A DC native and longtime member of Local 161-710 (Washington, DC), whose arrangements have been widely adopted by big bands.


Danny Schur and Stand!


Canadian Keyboardist and Composer Discusses His ‘Union Movie About a Union Story’ When composer Danny Schur started the research to compose his 2005 musical—a love story within and around the events of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike—he realized immediately it was a story that was made for him to tell. It was redolent of his […]




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 […]








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