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



Touring and Theatre Special

by Michael Manley, Director AFM Touring/Theatre/Booking and Immigration Division and Assistant to the President I am proud to introduce this month’s International Musician, which focuses on Touring and Theatre. Our cover story features the touring production of the most successful show in history, Disney’s The Lion King, which has been on the road continuously since […]

2014 ROPA Conference Celebrates 30 Years

by Karen Sandene, ROPA Secretary and Member of Locals 463 (Lincoln, NE) and 70-558 (Omaha, NE) The 30th Anniversary Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA) Conference convened in August in Pasadena, California. This special anniversary conference, with the theme: “Creative Change Through Creative Channels,” provided opportunities to examine ROPA’s history and role in serving musicians, and […]

2014 ICSOM Conference Focused on the Art of Advocacy

by Laura Ross, ICSOM Secretary and Member of Local 257  (Nashville, TN) The 2014 International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) Conference, hosted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA), was held August 25-28 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Conference focus was on the art of […]

Building Power Through Social Media

by Matt Plummer, Organizer, AFM Organizing & Education Division In the last decade, overall use of social media has skyrocketed. People spend almost 2.5 hours a day on average using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Local 1000 Members Honored with Joe Hill Award

For the past 36 years, labor-minded musicians and other artists have gathered at the Great Labor Arts Exchange to celebrate creativity and solidarity. It is a weekend of workshops, films, discussion, poetry, jam sessions, and open mikes, sponsored by the Labor Heritage Foundation. At this year’s gathering, Local 1000 (nongeographic) members Pat Wynne of San […]

Local 4 Partners with Percussion Marketing Council to Bring Music Making to Students

May was International Drum Month and an apt time to launch a collaboration between the Local 4 (Cleveland, OH) Music Fund and the Percussion Marketing Council (PMC). The Rainey Institute in downtown Cleveland provided the connection and venue for hosting the first two performances of four special presentations funded in-part through the PMC’s Percussion in […]

Symphonic Workplace Safety Issues: Part 2

Read part one of the Symphonic Workplace Safety Issues here.  Backstage Lighting Conditions: Colorado Springs Philharmonic by Nathan Kahn, AFM Symphonic Services Division Negotiator: The orchestra’s CBA states in part: “… The Employer shall ensure that adequate lighting is maintained at all services, backstage and on stage. Maintaining adequate lighting shall mean having either full stage lighting […]

Symphonic Workplace Safety Issues: Sound and Lighting Levels

by Nathan Kahn, AFM Symphonic Services Division Negotiator The symphonic workplace, be it on stage or in the pit, presents a variety of hazards to musicians. High decibel sound levels are an ongoing issue for symphonic musicians, but certain concerts have evolved into a much more dangerous situation as Nashville Symphony and Local 257 (Nashville, […]

Planned Opera with “Virtual” Orchestra Sparks Online Cultural Revolution

by Michael Manley, AFM Touring/Theatre/Booking Division Director and Assistant to the President  Throughout his career and long after, composer Richard Wagner’s works have courted controversy—for their outsized scale, their uncomfortable politics, and for the Herculean demands they place on singers and musicians. His crowning achievement: a four-opera cycle, nearly 17 hours all told, telling one […]

Legal Protections for Ill or Injured Musicians: the Basics of the ADA and FMLA

by Rochelle G. Skolnick, AFM Symphonic Services Division Counsel, Schuchat, Cook & Werner The work of a professional symphony musician is extraordinarily demanding—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Evolution has imperfectly prepared the human body for the task of mastering Shostakovich and Strauss, the violin or the oboe.