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 » Professional Development Course Coming on “Advancing an Anti-Racist Orchestra Model”

Professional Development Course Coming on “Advancing an Anti-Racist Orchestra Model”


This fall, Alex Laing, principal clarinet for the Phoenix Symphony and member of Local 586 (Phoenix, AZ), will lead a five-week, online professional development course for professional musicians in The Juilliard School’s Evening Division. “Advancing an Anti-Racist Orchestra Model: A Course for Professional Musicians,” is a new offering aimed at helping professional musicians who want to learn about anti-racist principles as an introduction to developing anti-racist practices.

The current moment is extraordinary. The sounds of many American orchestras are stilled by the pandemic while the country’s institutions are being held accountable for racist practices. This moment provides us with the opportunity to reflect on some important questions: If we live in a structurally racist society, what are the ways orchestras uphold it? Can orchestras be anti-racist? If so, how? 

Throughout the course, participants will analyze and critically reflect on the aesthetic and civic frameworks surrounding orchestras, how those frameworks intersect with race and racism, and how to recognize musicians’ roles as agents of change or stasis inside America’s professional orchestras.

“The Juilliard School’s Evening Division supports the community of professional musicians who want to advance their orchestras and the art form itself,” said John-Morgan Bush, Juilliard’s director of lifelong learning.

Due to a limited class size of 25, this course requires an application to be submitted and approved before registering. The deadline to apply is September 15. The course costs $250 for 10 hours of instruction. Musicians can apply individually or can seek professional development support from their orchestra to attend. To apply visit Questions? Email

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