Getting to know… Edward ‘Special Ed’ Roman Position: Music Therapist Ed has been with us at Pine River since April 2009.  Once a week he gathers the students for 90 minutes of music therapy with everything from hand drums to frying pans. In Ed’s words, these sessions are an opportunity to refocus attention, talk about science in music, how frequency and vibration affect us, to learn about artists, particularly those with tumultuous backgrounds who have used music as a means of healthy expression, and also to learn technical aspects of music such as theory and understanding rhythm. One of the more memorable sessions he had with the students was a rhythm making experiment that involved pouring rain, metal buckets, pots and pans.  As he explained, “Not everything we try is going to work, but everyone tried really hard and had a great laugh.” He also joins the students once a week for individual guitar, piano, and drum lessons. Ed describes his very rewarding position at Pine River as something he has wanted to do his whole life.  He has been playing music since he was 5, using it as ‘self-therapy’ to help him, “come outward and not be afraid of who (he) was.’” His wealth of experience includes teaching for the past 15 years in schools and at the conservatory in nearby Alliston, performing around the world with an 80-piece concert band, and touring North America with well-known African band ‘Njacko Backo and Kalimba Kalimba’.  He also has 26 different records to his name, 8 of which are international. When he’s not with the students or performing with this band ‘Special Ed and the Musically Challenged,’ he’s often writing songs.  Perhaps you’ve come across his video on youtube for a song he wrote called ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger’s garage sale,’ which even caught Jimmy Kimmel’s attention. So how did ‘Special Ed’ end up at Pine River? Turns out program director Nicola Bangham saw his band at a music festival and (after interviews and background checks!) asked him to join the team. When asked what he likes most about working at Pine River, he talked about the, “honesty and sincerity of the staff and student community,” and how, “people really care about each other.”