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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Health, Resources

Practicing Yoga Makes for Perfect Technique

Beyond its physical health benefits, yoga does wonders for stress, concentration, and even performance anxiety. There’s no need for pretzel-like contortions to reap the benefits. Movements are accessible and every pose can be modified for ease and comfort. Performing creates stress, whether onstage or in an audition. Rehearsing for long periods, bending and stretching limbs […]


Don’t Overlook the Obvious: Keep an Eye on Your Vision

On average, most people spend over seven hours a day looking at a screen. All that screen time puts them at risk for digital eye strain (DES), a group of problems that include tired eyes and blurred vision. It’s also a typical complaint of professional musicians. The eyes are not meant to repetitively scan the […]


On the Stage or on the Court, Tennis Elbow Causes Pain

Tennis players may have earned the title for this painful condition, but tennis elbow is a common problem triggered by a tense grip on any tool or instrument. Combined with repetitive movement, the strain can cause swelling of the tendons that bend the wrist backward, away from the palm. Strenuous overuse, which results in tension […]


Releasing Tension and Becoming Balanced with the Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique addresses inefficient habits of movement and patterns of accumulated tension that interfere with our innate ability to move easily. In his book, Body Learning, Michael J. Gelb notes that the technique itself is difficult to define because it involves a new experience. He says, “It’s like trying to explain music to someone who has never […]


Scents, Smells, and Ventilation in the Workplace

When we think of pollution, we think of outdoor air pollution. But most of our exposure to pollutants occurs indoors. For example, air fresheners may emit or cause the formation of numerous substances associated with harmful effects. Claims like “green” and “all natural” on packaging do not have legal or regulatory status.


Heart Health: Stay in Tune with Your Heart

Heart disease is a broad term that covers a number of heart conditions. Among the most common are congenital heart disease (heart defects), coronary artery disease (CAD), arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeat), and heart valve disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US—an alarming one in every four deaths to be exact. That’s about 610,000 people each year.


Cutting Back on the Holiday Cheer

Coming off the holidays, moderating the liquid cheer can be challenging for a lot of people. Many fall short of their objectives, mostly because they are not realistic. If you simplify your approach, goals will be more attainable and will make for better outcomes. In the case of alcohol consumption, the maxim “everything in moderation” becomes especially relevant.


Battling the Holiday Blues

The holiday season should be a joyful time, but instead, many find themselves struggling. This is especially true in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which so many musicians have faced the loss of loved ones, a lack of work, and long periods of isolation. Here are a few ways to weather the holiday […]


Border Crossing in the COVID Era

by Liana White, Executive Director, AFM Canadian Office Finally, as of November 8, the US-Canada land borders are officially reopened for all types of travelers. The US border (by air, land, and sea) was open throughout COVID for essential workers (US visa holders). The issue for visa holders wasn’t so much getting across the border, […]


You Can’t Hear What You Can’t Hear

For more than 20 years, I was a double bassist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and for at least 10 of those years I sat directly in front of the brass section. They were on risers and their bells pointed at the back of my head. Pretty early in my career I started to lose some hearing in the higher frequencies on the right side. The left ear was spared by the shielding effect of my skull as the sound hit my right ear sooner and with more intensity. While my brass colleagues are wonderful musical players, there is simply no avoiding the full impact of their sound. I was fitted with a custom earplug for the right ear and although the sound was uneven—the left ear is open, while the right ear is “filtered”—over time, I adjusted.








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