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



Hearing Aid Q&A for Musicians

Most musicians know that they should protect their hearing, but what can they do if some damage has already been done? Omaha, Nebraska, audiologists Kendall Simmons and Joel Edwards, who both work with the national hearing healthcare provider network EarQ, answer some questions. I play violin in the orchestra, and when the brass plays it […]

Arthritis: Protect Your Livelihood with Early Diagnosis

With about 50 million Americans (one out of five) and 4.5 million Canadians suffering from some sort of arthritis or chronic joint pain, it is not surprising that there are many musicians affected. Instances of some types of arthritis among professional musicians may actually be elevated due to repetitive movements related to playing instruments or […]

Getting a Grip on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which there is pressure on the median nerve—the nerve in the wrist that supplies feeling and movement to parts of the hand. If you play your instrument for many hours per day without adequate breaks and/or stretching, you may one day find yourself afflicted with carpal tunnel syndrome. […]

Dealing with the Difficult Subject of Addiction

The following article is condensed from an article provided by MusiCares ( The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences established the MusiCares Foundation to provide emergency assistance to musicians who are in need. Research indicates that addiction is a problem that affects roughly 10% of the general population. That statistic is often larger within […]

Hear the Music: A Guide to Hearing Loss Prevention

“The ear is an amazing organ that causes one to suspect that evolution had music and musicians in mind,” writes Dr. Marshall Chasin in his book Hear the Music: Hearing Loss Prevention for Musicians. The two most common causes of inner ear hearing loss are noise/music exposure and hearing loss associated with aging. While being […]

How Yoga Practice Can Enhance Your Music Making

Editor’s Note: Always check with a physician before beginning a new physical activity, especially if you have an existing injury or are experiencing pain. According to certified Kripalu yoga instructor Mia Olson, author of Musician’s Yoga: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Inspiration (Berklee Press, 2009), there are many ways that musicians can benefit from […]

A Handy Guide to Hand Care

Editor’s Note: This article uses research from a variety of medical sources. The AFM does not endorse the advice given in this article and urges working musicians to seek professional medical advice when dealing with physical complaints. Practically all musicians use their hands to play, yet despite the importance of the appendages to the working […]

Musicians and Insomnia, What’s Keeping You Up?

Sleep can affect every aspect of a musician’s performance, yet the lifestyle of professional musicians often leaves them prone to insomnia, both acute and chronic. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) Insomnia Research Center, insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying a sleep. Acute insomnia is brief, often due to a temporary circumstance, and […]

Vision Protection: More Than Meets the Eye

There are plenty of obvious injuries that can result from repetitive music practice and playing. Carpal tunnel, tinnitus, and neck pain are just a few injuries musicians should look out for. One commonly overlooked problem area is the tool used to read music—the eyes

Ear Factor

Play It Safe When It Comes to Your Hearing Whether you play for a wall thumping rock band or with a booming brass band, your ears need protection from the loud sounds that constantly bombard them. But just how much noise is too much? Eighty-five decibels, like the level of sound from a blender or […]