Washington Area Union

Discussion in 'Jazz / Commercial' started by Annie, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. Annie

    Annie Piano User

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    Nov 13, 2003
    Does anyone know whether it would be a good idea or a bad idea to join the Washington Area Musician's Union? I'm on the verge of really thinking of joining them, but I don't know whether it'd be truly worth my while to join up.
     
  2. DaveH

    DaveH Piano User

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    Nov 27, 2003
    I think you may get conflicting answers to your question...ultimately it is going to be a personal decision, and dictated by your personal circumstances.

    I think most people who join the AFM do so out of economic necessity, or to gain a perceived economic advantage of some kind. In other words, as far as I know, as well as based on my own experience, joining the Union is mostly due to economic reasons.

    I don't know of many people who join the Union unless it is necessary. It does not seem to be something that most people do without any compelling reason, such as needing to be in the Union in order to work.

    May I ask what your reason or motivation is for wanting to join the Union?
     
  3. Annie

    Annie Piano User

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    Nov 13, 2003
    From the bit of poking around that I've done, there really isn't much outside of the union (as far as I've been able to tell, that is) for a trumpeter. Most of it outside of the union seems to be talent agencies whose bands are not very organized.

    At a gig I recently did, I got there before call by about an hour, because I knew that was when I should be there. I think I was one of the first actually there. Nobody told me ANYTHING about what was going on, or what was expected of me. I was given a book to read from for the gig, but I barely even used it during the gig. Few songs were even in the book! And half the songs that actually were from the book, the charts were horrible. About 3 songs were played as the charts dictated, and there was no headway about any changes. When there was a song from the book, there was no start, or even count off. One song blended into the other. To top it all off, I wasn't given any info on what the order of the songs were. Keys and changes weren't shouted out at all. I had to ask my contact to tell me the keys of the songs as they came up so that I could ad lib backgrounds. It was a fun experience, but horribly frustrating nontheless.

    I'm hoping that by joining the union I'll be able to hook up with musicians who are a LOT more organized than this last group.
     
  4. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I think it is cheap to join the union. If you get nothing from it you have lost very little.

    The union is a professional origination meant for professional musicians. If you want to fit in that category you should join.

    I personally played here and there until I joined the union and then I played (and still do) a lot.
     
  5. Annie

    Annie Piano User

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    Nov 13, 2003
    The Washington Union?
     
  6. B15M

    B15M Forte User

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    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I must not understand. Are you referring to AFM?
     
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Oct 26, 2003
    Baltimore/DC
    Good grief Annie! Who did you play with? Never mind, I don't wanna know. In all of the gigging that I have done in this area, I have NEVER had an experience like that and I have never been union.
     
  8. Annie

    Annie Piano User

    436
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    Nov 13, 2003
    That's a RELIEF! I was afraid all I could find would be just situations like that.

    Yes, I was referring to the AFM, the Washington chapter. I think at the moment I'll stay out of it - but if I get really serious, I think I'll join.
     
  9. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

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    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    Annie,

    I have played many gigs as you described. They usually pay better than the musical gigs. :-?

    Talk to some of the union members. If you feel that you can get enough work to break even on your dues, then it is well worth it. Attend the meetings and schmooze with the members. Find out what you need to do to get Trust Fund gigs. They don't pay much but at least you are meeting other musicians and getting experience.
     

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