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


Home » Orchestra News » ICSOM Musicians to Gather in Portland, Oregon

ICSOM Musicians to Gather in Portland, Oregon


by Keith Carrick, ICSOM Chair and Member Local 104 (Salt Lake City, UT)

I am thrilled to announce the 62nd annual International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) Conference, will take place in Portland, Oregon, August 21-24. This year’s conference will cover a broad range of issues, including focus on cultivating and boosting relationships between musicians. In today’s fast-paced and uncertain world, external stresses inevitably seep into our workplaces. Unhealthy relationships threaten to divide us and weaken our solidarity during critical moments such as negotiations and labor actions. 

Engaging musicians at the start of their careers is essential. ICSOM emphasizes the importance of providing this support and guidance through new musician guides and meet and greets with committee members, designed to help new musicians acclimate to the orchestra and establish connections with their colleagues.

Seasoned players encounter many challenges to their workplace environment, including apathy, burnout, and low morale. To address these issues, ICSOM encourages open dialogue and participation in musician-led initiatives, fostering an environment where musicians feel empowered to address their concerns and contribute to positive change.

While it’s clear our orchestras deliver stellar performances, we must ask our musicians if they genuinely enjoy their jobs. Do they find fulfillment in making music with their colleagues? If not, what steps can we take to address these concerns? While labor actions focus on unreasonable employer practices, addressing issues such as workplace stress and morale requires a different set of tools and strategies.

As we gather in Portland, ICSOM hopes to engage in thoughtful discussions, share best practices, and collectively envision a future where healthy workplace relationships thrive. Those interested in attending the conference should visit the ICSOM website ( for registration details. Together, we can build stronger, more resilient orchestras that continue to inspire audiences worldwide.

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