Although the idea of organizing professional musicians in guilds can be traced back to the Romans in the early part of the 7th century, the formation, at least in London, of a fraternity or guild of musicians seems not to have begun until around 1350 or possibly later.

No doubt guided by these ancient precedents, the Guild of Musicians and Singers was founded in 1993, the aims and objects of which were “to create a Guild of professional and amateur musicians similar to Guilds of years past, enabling members to meet from time to time for working and fraternal purposes”. The title was probably suggested by the words of Psalm 68, verse 25 – ‘The singers go before, and the minstrels (musicians) after’. It was chosen for ease of abbreviation (so as not to be confused with the GSM – the Guildhall School of Music) and was meant to include those who play and those who sing.