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


Books-Resources, Products

Union Divided: Black Musicians’ Fight for Labor Equality

Leta E. Miller follows the AFM’s history of Black locals, which were chartered alongside white locals in the same territories, from their origins and successes in the 1920s through Depression-era crises to the fraught process of desegregation in the 1960s and 1970s. Millier details how Black AFM locals sought to ensure employment and competitive wages for members with always evolving […]

GADD: A Life in Time

Gadd: A Live in Time is heavily illustrated with nearly 200 photographs of Steve Gadd, the much-celebrated and in-demand drummer of Local 802 (New York City). He was introduced to the drums at age three by his uncle, a former Army drummer, who gave him his first pair of sticks. Gadd was prodigious, quickly absorbing […]

Book: Defying the Silence, by Julie Ayer

Defying the Silence: A Chronicle of Resilience that Saved the World Renowned Minnesota Orchestra

In this book, Julie Ayer of Local 30-73 (St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN) shows how some of the world’s finest musicians went from sitting in the Minnesota Orchestra to standing in the picket line—and how their city rallied around them. The lockout that began on October 1, 2012 became the longest and most infamous work stoppage in […]

Recommended Reading

No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age Drawing on her experience as a scholar and longtime organizer in student, environmental, and labor movements, Jane F. McAlevey examines cases from labor unions and social movements to pinpoint the factors that helped them succeed, or fail, to accomplish their intended goals. She ultimately concludes […]

Blanchard Caverns Fantasy (for Euphonium, Tuba, and Piano)

Named for a three-tiered cave system owned by the US Forest Service, this fantasy musically explores the wonders of this “living” cave. Flavored with jazz harmonies and intricate counterpoint, the piece by T.O. Sterrett of Local 802 (New York City) brings you the shimmer, wonder, and majesty of this grand work of Nature. Blanchard Caverns […]

Berklee Harp: Reading, Improvisation, and Arranging for Pedal and Lever Harpists

In her latest book, harpist Felice Pomeranz, of Local 9-535 (Boston, MA), teaches both pedal and lever players how to become a better improvising harpist. Learn basic chords, chord symbols, and harmonic progressions used in a wide range of music, as well as how to play in styles such as jazz, blues, swing, bossa nova, […]

Charles E. Ives Piano Studies: Shorter Works for Piano – Vol. 2

Alongside his symphonies, chamber works, songs, and two major piano sonatas, Charles Ives wrote a number of short, groundbreaking works for solo piano. This second volume of The Complete Shorter Works for Piano of Charles Ives is the first publication of the complete extant studies for solo piano. Charles E. Ives Piano Studies: Shorter Works […]

Madonna of Silence

This drama for trombone and orchestra reflects the inner turbulence of Michelangelo’s drawing Madonna del Silenzio on which the work is based. The trombone takes on many roles: from the quiet, inner voice of the Madonna as she gazes in contemplation at the child, later singing a hymn and, towards the end of the work, […]

How to Make First Chair: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving Your Goal

How to Make First Chair guides musicians step-by-step through the preparation for successful auditions and performances. Musicians of all ages and abilities will gain knowledge of how to pace practice sessions, understand what judges listen for, and how to be prepared for anything on audition day. How to Make First Chair: A Step-by-Step Guide to […]

Modern Drummer Legends: Alex Van Halen

This installment in the Modern Drummer Legends series about drummer Alex Van Halen of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA), includes Van Halen’s three Modern Drummer cover stories, transcriptions of classic Van Halen tracks, beats, and fills, a deep dive into his unique snare sound, and a 2020 interview. Modern Drummer Legends: Alex Van Halen, Modern […]

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