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 » Recent News » High School Teacher Jared Cassedy Receives Music Educator Award

High School Teacher Jared Cassedy Receives Music Educator Award


Jared Cassedy, a name no one really knows, has just become a Grammy winner. For the second year, the Recording Academy and Grammy Foundation are presenting the Grammy Music Educator award.

The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. Over 7,000 names were submitted this year, but only one can receive the award.

Jared Cassedy from Windham high School in Windham, New Hampshire was presented the reward. Cassedy is known for being filled with energy, and has even been nicknamed “The energizer Bunny.”

It’s part of his passion and commitment, and it shows with his students as well.

Cierra Cowan, a bassoonist at Windham high School said, “We’re getting so much done and we’re working so hard, yet it feels like we’re having the best time of our lives doing it.”

The students really had nothing but flattering things to say about their teacher.

“He constantly tells us, ‘I don’t see you as high school musicians. You are professional musicians to me.’ And he’s the kind of person you want to meet those expectations and it makes it incredibly exhilarating when you can,” clarinetist Jillian DiPersio said. She goes on to say, “We don’t feel like band geeks here.”

“It becomes something you want to do, because you want to impress him. You do it for him really,” tuba player Adam Consentino said.

The band he teaches isn’t exclusive to skilled musicians. He allows anyone to join even if they have never played a note in their lives. No auditions necessary.

“One of my biggest beliefs in music education is I want to provide access to all students.” Cassedy explains.

That doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games. In 2012, the band played a the World Strides Heritage Festival in New York and finished first. The year after, they attended the World Strides Heritage Festival in Chicago and won again. This led to an invitation for the band to perform on the main stage at Carnegie Hall.

It is no wonder former student, Tim Raymond, wrote a letter to the Grammy committee. “I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of the honor,” Raymond said, “I learned music lessons. I learned life lessons. He was one of my biggest mentors.”

Cassedy was shocked when he found out.

“Words cannot describe how amazing this honor is,” said Cassedy. “This award is not only recognition of the truly talented students and supportive community I get to work with every day, but it’s also a representation of the fundamental significance of music and the arts in our schools. As a tribute to the thousands of outstanding music educators everywhere, I cannot thank The Recording Academy and GRAMMY Foundation enough for helping us to advocate for and to celebrate the importance of music education across the nation.”

He didn’t take all the credit for himself, “…I see it more as a recognition of the students. Without the students coming back every single day, giving it 110 percent. Their lips are falling off, and exhausted and they’re studying for midterm exams and they have a lot of pressure on them but they’re the ones. I could be up there waving my arms around, but they’re the ones making the music.”