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



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.

Music Stand Lighting and Your Eyes

Why is stand lighting so important? People play music because they love it. When you have good stand lighting, you don’t give it a thought, and if you are under 40 years of age, you can probably read music by candlelight. But by the time you reach 40, your eyes begin to change, and if […]

Self-Help Strategies to Improve Mental Health

Long dimmed by the pandemic, lights are coming back on in symphony halls around the country. Clubs are reopening. Musicians are back on the road. But a complete industry recovery is likely more than a year away. The hardship of the last year and the uncertainty of the future are taking a toll on the […]

Dystonia Can Derail a Career

Researchers identify dystonia as a neurological disorder characterized by excessive muscle contractions that can result in involuntary, slower movements and abnormal postures. There are several different forms of dystonia, but focal dystonia affects one specific area of the body. This disorder can be disabling to musicians because it causes a loss of muscular control in […]

Sound Check: Using IEMs and Retraining Your Brain to Hear Safe Sound

A post-pandemic return to live music is an opportunity for musicians to re-evaluate hearing health—and to modulate audio levels to reduce the inherent risk of hearing impairment. After more than a year away from a typical concert venue—amid virtual performances—musicians have naturally adjusted their volume to a controlled listening regimen. According to Michael Santucci, Au.D., […]

When It Comes to Artistic Vision, Don’t Be Shortsighted

Musicians are susceptible to any number of performance-related injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome, tinnitus, neck, back, and joint pain. But let’s face it, the eyes and ears do the heavy lifting in music performance. As a focus of health and wellness, though, the senses—especially vision—are often taken for granted. Focusing on small notes on a […]