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

Emily Levin

The Power of Music to Soothe the “Savage Breast” In a time such as now filled with so much strife and anger, it’s comforting to think that music can soothe the soul (or the “savage breast,” as was written in 1697). It was this power of music, in fact, that ignited in Emily Levin when […]

new reality

The New Reality for Musicians: How Our Union is Working For Us and How We Can All Adapt to the New Environment

The new reality is a digital one, in which musicians have transitioned to online existence in order to keep creating, marketing, and sharing their music.

madeline adkins

Madeline Adkins: Utah Symphony Concertmaster Soars Through the Canyons of Classical Music

Utah Symphony concertmaster Madeline Adkins discusses her journey to the first chair, what a concertmaster’s job entails, and how she has been coping with quarantine.


The AFM and its Members Respond to COVID-19 Effects on Musicians

While our union officials have been monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and potential impacts on musicians since it first became a global health emergency in late January, once music events began being canceled and restrictions on large gatherings were announced by both US and Canadian officials in early March, that is when the impact on musicians and their livelihoods became stark.

rum ragged

Rum Ragged: Spreading the Living Tradition of Newfoundland Folk Music

The members of Rum Ragged were brought together by their shared passion for collecting and arranging undiscovered traditional songs and tunes of their home.

Timpanist Jauvon Gilliam Drives the Rhythm

“I have a dream job,” says Jauvon Gilliam of Local 161-710 (Washington, DC), principal timpanist for the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO). “Rarely am I the superstar or the soloist and I relish that. I like being the main support system, like the load-bearing wall, if you will.” From his riser in the back of the […]

The Ancestors Are Calling

At 72, singer and songwriter Laura Vinson has lost none of the natural beauty of her voice. In her striking visual performances, images of elders hover above Native dancers, as ancient drum rhythms summon the past. Her music is not characterized by gritty protest, but the emotional pull is palpable: part dissent, part nostalgia, part […]

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Cynthia Sayer

She asked for a drum set. She got a banjo. The rest is jazz history. As a child, Cynthia Sayer got bribed by her parents with a banjo—and ended up finding her musical niche. Sayer found her first musical love in the piano, which she started playing at age six. She also learned and played […]

eugenia zukerman

Eugenia Zukerman: Renowned Flutist Reflects on What Comes Next After Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Eugenia Zukerman, now 75, has had a long and successful career as not only a musician but also an author, journalist, and music director.

Kenny Seymour: Bringing the Music of The Temptations to Broadway and Beyond

Music Director Underscores the Universality of Music Ain’t Too Proud is the story of the influential Motown group The Temptations, and their journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during the turbulent times of the 1960s. It is a show filled with the group’s signature dance moves and […]