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

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 […]




Ronnie Milsap Cover

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 […]




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 […]




June IM Cover

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 […]




IM Cover - Herb Smith

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, […]




Elaine Douvas


Getting Off the Ground Through Music—And Staying There Elaine Douvas fell in love with classical music as a first grader in ballet class. The “Sleeping Beauty Waltz” by Tchaikovsky made her spirit soar, and by age seven she knew she wanted to be a professional musician. She started on piano, changed to violin, and in […]










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