Welcome to the Hospitality Suite!

If you happened across this blog, it’s more than likely that you’re a professionpete-why500pixal musician. We may have yet to share a single thought, but we already have in common that music is a part of our inner soul. We work [or aspire to work] in a highly-competitive profession surrounded by inspiring and creative people.

As performing artists we walk the line between the objective and subjective, as we do with outdated rules and policies (or lack thereof) that attempt to govern or manipulate our industry. What is fair, unfair or even illegal? How can we affect change when we disagree, and when do we agree to disagree?

Organizing to affect change or gain traction on any one of these questions is often just a phone call or a meeting away, but too few of us ever SPEAK UP to to get the ball rolling. Too often we resign to accept things as they are, or worse yet, let someone else deal with it. In the words of philosopher and clarinetist Woody Allen: The world is run by those who show up.

The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) is our only labor union for professional musicians, and has wrestled with these questions for more than a century. Our union works exceptionally well when we speak up, but it can only fail when we don’t. Missing are more forums such as this, where musicians are encouraged to share their views and experiences in a casual but also focused setting.

The Hospitality Suite is such a setting and a common fixture at AFM conferences, and I hope to replicate that same environment here. Challenges are met and differences are more likely to be resolved through respectful discussion. I encourage you to register (anonymously if you must) and become a frequent participant in future discussions. You’re encouraged to provide your name because your comments will naturally carry more weight and influence, but it’s also understandable if you don’t. I only ask that you refrain from attacking individuals unless you’re willing to stand behind your comments.

Pull up a chair and come back often!
Pete Vriesenga

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