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, On the Cover

The Reddcoats Are Coming: Industry Veterans Form Supergroup


The Reddcoats is a young band made up of veteran musicians: Matt Bissonette, Gregg Bissonette, Wally Minko, Andy Timmons, and Mike Medina. Collectively, they’ve logged thousands of hours touring and recording with industry icons. They share years of mutual admiration and bring an incredible depth of experience to their music.




John Lofton: Approaching Diversity from Both Ends


Considering how to increase diversity in North America’s orchestras often leads to a chicken-versus-egg dilemma: Tackle it from the top down with recruitment in conservatories and colleges? Or is it best addressed from the bottom up, investing in and improving grade school music programs in underserved areas? Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) member John Lofton, […]




Julie Landsman: Guiding Light for Women Brass Players


Horn player Julie Landsman of Locals 802 (New York City) and 47 (Los Angeles, CA) boasts a decades-long legacy of pioneering achievement in a male-dominated field.




Jazz, Education, and Unionism as a Way of Life ‑‑ Dr. James H. Patterson


It’s not common knowledge, even among AFM members, why some locals have hyphenated numbers. The system dates back to the days of segregation in this country: in the case of Atlanta, Local 148 was designated the Black local and 462 was for whites. The hyphens are an indication that these locals ultimately integrated and merged […]




January Cover Ken Casey

Ken Casey: Old School Radio Needs a New Model


Among the supporters of the American Music Fairness Act (AMFA) is bassist Ken Casey, member of Local 9-535 (Boston, MA) and longtime frontman of the Celtic punk band the Dropkick Murphys. To sign the American Music Fairness Act petition, visit https://bit.ly/AMFA-fairpay




Leslie DeShazor: Variety Is the Spice of Music


The words “jazz” and “viola” aren’t two things you often hear in the same sentence. But busy working musicians need to find ways to keep things fresh, which can frequently lead them down some unconventional paths. Violist Leslie DeShazor of Local 5 (Detroit, MI) has enthusiastically embraced a wide variety of these paths, keeping her […]




November IM Cover

Lily Ling Takes Her Shot


Lily Ling, member of Local 149 (Toronto, ON), first female music director of a Hamilton touring company. Ling’s association with Hamilton began in 2017 when she joined “Philip”—another of the touring productions—as associate music director. In her current role, she sees herself as a quality control manager, explaining that it’s her job to maintain the vision of the show’s creators, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alex Lacamoire.




Alana Wiesing: Timpanist Hurdles Traditional Roles


Alana Wiesing is one of the few Black women timpanists to hold a principal position in a symphony orchestra. She hopes to change that and encourage others to break barriers—and the proverbial glass ceiling. A member of Local 33 (Tucson, AZ), Wiesing plays principal timpani in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and also serves as an […]




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Ronnie Milsap: Still Going Strong­


Iconic Musician Ronnie Milsap Is Ready to Hit the Road Legendary musician Ronnie Milsap of Local 257 (Nashville, TN) discovered his love for performing early on. By age 11, he was already a favorite at his family’s church. “I grew up in the Primitive Baptist Church and I started singing in church pretty early,” he […]




Moving from Transactional to Transformative Unionism


New Vision of Unionism in the City of Brotherly Love & Sisterly Affection In order for the AFM to move forward as a whole, progress often needs to start at the local level. Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA) is an example of how transforming a single local can exert positive influence across an entire community. The […]










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