Leading children in music at Schenectady Greenmarket is part of a bigger mission for Terri Roben.

“I wanted kids to grow up liking farmers markets,” the energetic multi-instrumentalist said. “I noticed kids were bored at markets and so I started doing children’s music at farmers markets 13 years ago.”

Kids who play music with Roben, a popular draw for families at the market on the fourth Sunday of each month, are anything but bored. Maracas, bells, egg shakers, triangles and even ice cube trays are just some of the instruments Roben lays out for kids of any age to pick up and start playing.

Roben is a registered Music Together teacher, leading groups of parents and newborns to 5-year-olds in song. Making music has many benefits, she said.

“It’s good for kids to learn how to play together. It’s good for families to learn how to make music together instead of just plugging something in. It’s good for the brain,” she explained.

Music, for kids and adults, has been an integral part of Schenectady Greenmarket since its inception in November 2008. During the indoor market at Proctors a variety of bands play upstairs with jam sessions and musicians downstairs as well. During the outdoor market the sounds of fiddles, guitars, vocalists, banjos and other instruments fill Jay Street as musicians play on the main stage near City Hall.

Acoustic Collusion, Big Creek, Running the River, John Dermont, Rob Jonas, The Nellies, The Slate Hill Band, The Dependents, Jo Henley and The Anonymous Figg Leafs, led by Rick Sacchetti, are just some of the names who have entertained audiences during the market. Sacchetti has been playing at the market for three years and likes the atmosphere that’s created every time he and other musicians strike a chord.

“It livens things up,” the guitarist and lead vocalist for the Schenectady-based band, said. “It’s a great place to play because you have to play for all types of people. Any kind of music here is endearing to most people. It’s an added feature instead of just shopping.”

Sue Cerniglia of East Greenbush shops at the market and joins in monthly Quebecois jam sessions, playing her fiddle with others who enjoy the genre of French Canadian dance music.

“I like the feeling of seeing people out and meeting new people and conversing,” she said. “A lot of people like to hear the music while they’re shopping.”

Her fellow Quebecois enthusiast Steve Fry, who plays mandolin and piano, views the jams as a way to get together with other musicians and play, but also to educate market-goers about their style of music.

“I like to get the music heard by people,” he said. “It’s obscure stuff we play and might not be known to the average Capital Region resident. The best part is watching the kids dancing.”

So while shoppers are purchasing bread, pasta, cheese, chicken, pickles, jams, teas, honey and a myriad of other fresh and local food, their children can make music and they can listen to jazz, bluegrass and instrumentals, and even inquire about performing at the market themselves (by e-mailing schenectadygreenmarket |at| gmail |dot| com).

For a complete calendar of music and other information, please visit our Calendar page. If your group is interested in playing at the market, you can find more information on our “Music at the Market” page.