Frequently Asked Questions


Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

Question: Is there a minimum age to join the union?

Answer: No, but you do have to play an instrument first at a professional level. Often people join when they’re in college and starting to be hired for gigs.

Question: How do I join?

Answer: Please see the JOIN US page for specific instructions.

Question: Will I have to play an audition to be admitted?

Answer: No

Question: How do I get freelance work?

Answer: Paul Sharpe, Chairman of the AFM’s Entertainment and Freelance Department has written a very good summary of possibilities. Please Paul Sharpe, Director, AFM Freelance Services Division to read the article.

Question: What is a free-lancer?
Answer: A free-lance musician is one who can be hired for many types of employment that is “temporary”, or just involves a limited number of services for a concert. This person usually doesn’t sign a contract to bind him/herself to an ongoing term of work and may play with different organizations or be hired by different contractors. Musicians who do play under long-term contracts, such as a Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra musician, are free to accept free-lance employment when it doesn’t interfere with the symphony’s schedule.

Question: Why don’t I need to sign a contract when I’m hired to work a free-lance job?
Answer: The musician who is hired for a free-lance job accepts a verbal contract from an individual contractor. The contractor is held by a code of ethics to honor this verbal agreement and there are terms set in our constitution by which he/she must abide. (See the Constitution, Section 12.05) The Contractor will have signed a contract with the hiring organization and they are bound to pay you.

Question: I recently played a gig and just received my paycheck from Promo.  I sure thought I’d net more than that.  What deductions are taken from my check and what do they mean?
Answer: Go to this page and we’ll explain the deductions and benefits that it fulfills for you. The good news is that your deductions are taken care of for you, so you don’t get hit when you pay taxes in April!