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

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.

Irving “Andy” Andrusia — A Union Man for 76 Years

Irving “Andy” Andrusia of Local 161-710 (Washington, D.C.) may be a centenarian, but his life remains busy and filled with song.

Helping the Music Shine Through: Guy Yehuda Believes Flexibility Leads to Success

For clarinetist Guy Yehuda of Local 56 (Grand Rapids, MI), versatility isn’t just a buzzword—it’s how he stays fresh and competitive in today’s heavily commercialized music world.

Canadian Celtic Fiddler Natalie MacMaster Plays True to Her Roots

Artists and writers are taught that their work often has more truth when they create by using what they know. Acclaimed Canadian Celtic fiddler and step dancer Natalie MacMaster of Local 355 (Cape Breton, NS) has proven that truism and made it a way of life, writing and performing music in her native Cape Breton style.

St. Louis Symphony Bassoonist Felicia Foland: Music – and the Labor Movement – Are Both About Cooperation

Felicia Foland joined the AFM whe she was 16, and has now played bassoon in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for nearly 30 years.

Trumpeter Emma Stanley Talks Touring as a New AFM Member

Practicing gratitude is commonly acknowledged to be one of keys to living a healthy, balanced life. Trumpet player Emma Stanley of Local 9-535 (Boston, MA) has this gratitude thing down: She not only practices it, she lives it. Stanley plays in the US national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1970 rock opera, […]

One-Man Show Benefits the Hudson River and Pete Seeger’s Legacy

Michael J. Miles, of Local 1000 (nongeographic), banjo player and writer, performed his highly acclaimed one-man show “From Senegal to Seeger” in January in Beacon, NY, to benefit the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc., an environmental nonprofit founded in 1966 by the late folk singer Pete Seeger. Through education, green initiatives, and the annual Great Hudson […]

A Quarter-Million Reasons You Should Record Under a Union Contract

Twenty Years After His Death, Violist Rollice Dale’s Residuals Continue to Fund Music Scholarships for College Musicians Since 2001, more than one dozen student musicians at the Thornton School of Music in California have benefited from a $230,000 endowed scholarship—all of which came from the posthumous residuals of one AFM musician. While violist Rollice Dale […]