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

Walter Ostanek: Canada’s Prize-Winning Polka King Looks Ahead to Oktoberfest

In lockdown, during the pandemic, the esteemed accordionist Walter Ostanek of Local 298 (Niagara, ON) had to cancel all of his live shows. He says, “It’s been kind of quiet,” but he’s quick to add, “Once it opens up, I’ll be working; I’ll be getting back to music.” Never mention retirement to the 86-year-old, who […]

Life Member Genevieve Grant Marks 100th Birthday

Genevieve Grant was five years old when her family relocated from Vancouver, Washington to San Diego, California. She began playing violin at nine years old, when music lessons were offered in public school. Although no one in her family was musical, Grant says that every Saturday evening she would sit by the radio and listen […]

Cooking Up Ideas to Help Colleagues

Musicians Cook!, the cookbook she compiled with the help of some 300 other musicians—many also members of Local 802—is a labor of love created to help New York City-area colleagues facing dire straits. But it’s just the latest philanthropic endeavor for Youngstein, who has always believed in the power of giving back.

Michelle Seto: Chamber Orchestra Musician Comes Full Circle

When Michelle Seto of Local 406 (Montreal, PQ) joined Les Violons du Roy in 1992, the unique chamber orchestra had a very short season and minimal benefits for its musician members. Seto says that through hard work and solidarity, the group has achieved international acclaim and has elevated its status to being one of the […]

Strength of Unions: Cellist Inspires and Educates the Next Generation

Giovanna Moraga Clayton didn’t set out to be on the Local 47 (Los Angeles) executive board. But here she is. “Honestly, I never necessarily wanted to do it,” says the freelance cellist, who has been working in Los Angeles film and television studios for the last 14 years. “But when someone asked me to consider it, I had […]

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Dominic Trumfio

Chicago Theater Musician Creates Art in Every Color of the Rainbow Musicians often don’t wind up where they started when embarking on a chosen career path. And sometimes the place they wind up is even more fulfilling than the one they imagined. As a high school flutist, Chicago native Dominic Trumfio of Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL) might not have […]

Buffalo Tubist Keeps Traditions Alive Through the Arts

Throughout his professional years, Harry endeavored to maintain tribal traditions and cultural pride. He is a past president (for 10 years) of Neto Hatinakwe Onkwehowe, Cayuga for Here Lives the People. “Neto is an American Indian arts advocacy group in Buffalo representing the Six Nations group, the remains of the Iroquois Federation and the Tuscarora from North Carolina,” he says.

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Herb Smith

Music Is an Underrated Path to Social Justice When trumpet player Herb Smith of Local 66 (Rochester, NY) read the news about a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally being organized in downtown Rochester last summer, he knew he needed to take part in some way. This wasn’t a new feeling for him. Tall and dreadlocked, […]

Scott Robinson

Creating New Life in the Lab Frankenstein’s monster lurks in the corner of the lab, seven feet tall, looming over the lab equipment. Except, in this case, the “monster” is a rare contrabass saxophone. And the “lab” is a music studio—aka, ScienSonic—belonging to jazz saxophonist Scott Robinson of Local 802 (New York City). Robinson says […]

Angela Chan

Keyboardist Opens Doors to the Arts and Broadens Representation in the Union Angela Chan started training in classical piano at age four. She discovered the intricacies of jazz in high school, but as a college sophomore she realized her true passion: musical theater. She found that musical theater allowed for a perfect blend of musical […]