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


On the Cover

Stephanie Matthews: We Are Here

Los Angeles musician and consultant Stephanie Matthews of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) has a message: “We are here.” That message is directed at anyone doubting the level of Black string talent in today’s music industry. And she should know. Matthews has put together string sections for some of the biggest stars. In 2020, she […]

Evan Walsh and Toy Soldiers Win Organizing Campaign

Working to secure our rights as performing and recording musicians is a crucial part of what we do, and stories of successful organizing campaigns are at the heart of unionism and activism. Those successes feel even sweeter when the campaigns are won against big corporations—and they don’t get much bigger than The Walt Disney Company. […]

Carol Jantsch: Philadelphia Orchestra Tuba Player Embraces Another Role Offstage

A typical orchestral tuba weighs about 25 pounds, which is less than you might expect. Local 77 (Philadelphia, PA) member Carol Jantsch, principal tuba of the Philadelphia Orchestra, has been used to lugging that weight around since she started playing the instrument at the age of 12. These days, though, she is carrying an added few pounds on top of that. Jantsch is expecting her first child—a girl—in late July.

Houston Brass-Playing Couple Share a Life in Music

Theresa Hanebury and Nancy Goodearl of Local 65-699 (Houston, TX) When two of Houston’s busiest brass players, who also happen to be a couple, want to share some downtime together, it can sometimes require comparing calendars. It’s a scenario that will be familiar to just about every musician couple anywhere. Nancy Goodearl, a horn player […]

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

December IM Cover

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 […]