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 » NEA Grants Help Kids Find Brighter Path

NEA Grants Help Kids Find Brighter Path


Los Angeles Philharmonic Association – YOLA Neighborhood Project Day

Inspired by Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel’s experiences with the Venezuela youth orchestra movement “El Sistema,” LA Philharmonic partners with the organization Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) to bring orchestral music to underserved children through Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA).  The program has been partly funded through five successive annual National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants totaling $270,000.

“This program is using music for social change,” says HOLA Executive Director Tony Brown. “It’s trying to empower those kids to reach their potential and expand their horizon.” More than 350 families are wait listed for participation in HOLA programs, which include both arts and athletics.


The programs reach more than 2,000 kids each year who come from neighborhoods where the poverty rate is more than 35% and more than a quarter of households earn less than $15,000 per year. Gangs roam the streets and the high school graduation rate is about 50%.

“The orchestra becomes a metaphor for community. It becomes a safe place to develop and be heard—to have a voice and to find a voice,” says Brown. Of the 63 students who were high school seniors in HOLA programs in 2015, 100% graduated and 97% went on to college.