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

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 […]


Ray Chew: Jack of All Trades, Master of … Seemingly All of Them!


Growing up in Harlem and the Bronx, Ray Chew of Local 802 (New York City) was fortunate to be given opportunities that many other kids in those neighborhoods were not so fortunate to have. This, he says, is thanks to his mother. “My mom sent me to every music program in the city that I […]




Anjan Shah: Fusing Indian Culture with Western Sounds


For many musicians, drawing on their cultural background provides a wealth of material for creative inspiration. As a first-generation Indian American, saxophonist Anjan Shah of Locals 10-208 (Chicago, IL) and 40-543 (Baltimore, MD) understands this very well. However, it wasn’t an understanding that came to him until much later in his life. “Growing up in […]




Nicole Jordan: Advocacy Is Overarching Goal


Chatting with Nicole Jordan of Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA), the first thing you learn is to dispel your assumptions of what an orchestra librarian is, or does. Hint: it’s not what you think when you hear the word “librarian.”  “For starters, we typically don’t have degrees in library science,” says Jordan, a Philadelphia native and […]




Jacqueline Pickett: Community Is Everything


Earlier this year, a new nonprofit called the League of Women Bassplayers (LOW B) held its first conference aimed at exploring community and addressing the needs of women bass players around the world. LOW B’s founder and president, Jacqueline Pickett of Local 148-462 (Atlanta, GA), says the organization is designed to explore community and address […]




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Benjamin Wright: Recognizing—and Honoring—a Legend


You might be forgiven for not recognizing the name of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) staple Benjamin Wright, but you will almost certainly have heard his work. With a career spanning 60 years as a music director, arranger, songwriter, and producer, he has a staggering resumé of nearly 250 songs to his credit, either as […]




Way to Go, Leisa Way!


Leisa Way of Local 226 (Kitchener, ON) uses her platform as performer and concert producer to educate younger musicians on the power of unionism. Singers Aren’t Musicians, and Other Myths There’s a tired old saw passed around among instrumentalists that singers aren’t really musicians. Rather than arguing to the contrary, however, vocalist and producer Leisa […]




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Mary Corbett: Positive Energy Creates Positive Outlook


“It’s a remarkable thing that we get to do this for a living,” says Corbett, a violinist in The Florida Orchestra (TFO) since 1989 and member of Local 427-721 (Tampa Bay, FL). Her warmth and enthusiasm are infectious as she speaks about her good fortune. “Even after all these years, I know how tremendous it is that I am able to make my living doing this, and I never stop appreciating it.”




Balancing Act: Kristy Norter Talks Talent, Contracting, and Giving Back

Broadway reed doubler Kristy Norter of Local 802 (New York City) is quick to start off an interview by pointing out two things. First, she is careful to give props to the other female contractors who came before her and laid the groundwork for her success on the job. And second, she prefers the term […]


Julie Ferrara: Broadway Tours Embracing Positive Change


Julie Ferrara of Local 802 (New York City) likes to joke that her career has gone in reverse. “Most pit orchestra musicians get on tours with the hope of eventually making it to Broadway,” says Ferrara, a woodwind doubler currently touring the country with Disney’s musical Frozen. “Instead, I worked on Broadway for 14 years before entertaining the opportunity to go on the road.”










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