The Union’s Next Generation

New program will introduce 802 to young musicians

Volume CX, No. 4April, 2010

Karen Fisher

Of all the responsibilities we bear as members of Local 802, insuring the success of the institution for future generations is one of the most important.

To that end, I am asking for your help. I am putting together a course for musicians and staff to bring into conservatories, universities and music schools to educate young musicians about Local 802.

The program will discuss our goals, history, and values, and at the same time teach young musicians about respect for their work and their profession.

To do this effectively, I am calling on all of you to draw from your experiences as performers and as teachers.

  • What was important to you when you first graduated from school?
  • Did you join the union because you had to, or did you join out of a sense of community and solidarity?
  • As a teacher, what are you hearing from your students? How do they see themselves and their futures? Do they feel empowered or is there a sense of futility? Besides teaching orchestral excerpts and technique are you teaching them how to navigate the professional world? How can this program help you do that?

Encouraging young musicians to start thinking of their collective welfare is beneficial to us all. There are currently several so-called “student” orchestras in the city that are poised and ready to step into what is now union work for low or no pay. Many of the musicians who play these jobs are desperate to make rent and get experience or they’ve been told “take it or leave it.” If we do not empower them by teaching them their rights and how to stand together, we will have failed them and ourselves.

Please contact me at or (212) 245-4802, ext. 174 with suggestions about the curriculum, or to volunteer to participate as we visit schools in the coming months.

Are you 62 or over?

Columbia University’s Research Center for Arts and Culture is looking for participants in a study on aging performing artists.

The goal is to understand how performing artists are supported and integrated within their communities and how their network structures change over time.

This will hopefully provide choices for a generation now dealing with challenges artists have faced and surmounted.

Local 802’s Musicians’ Assistance Program is helping to recruit musicians 62 and over to participate in the study.

All musicians, singers, actors, dancers, and choreographers 62 and older are invited to attend.

Please join us on Friday, April 9 at 3 p.m. at Local 802 to hear representatives from this project to discuss the study and how you can be a part of it.

There will be a small compensation for your participation.

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Cindy Green, LCSW, in the MAP office at (212) 397-4802.