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Hey Kids, Meet Scott Joplin | Composer Biography

from the Hey Kid's Meet the Composer Index





Hey Kids, Meet Scott Joplin

Scott Joplin (1867 or 1868-1917) American Ragtime Composer and Pianist

Scott Joplin, the second of six children, was born sometime between June 1867 and January 1868 in eastern Texas. His father was a slave, while his mother was born a free black woman. After 1871 Joplin and his family moved to Texarkana, Texas. It was then that young Scott taught himself music on a piano in a home where his mother worked.

Exhibiting musical ability at an early age, Joplin received free music lessons from a local German music teacher. His teacher not only trained him to play the piano well but also gave him a well-rounded knowledge of classical music form. It was this training in classical form that served him in later years in developing his compositional style.

In the late 1880's Joplin left home to pursue his musical career. By 1898 Joplin had sold six pieces for the piano. By 1889 he had published his most celebrated composition, Maple Leaf Rag which placed Joplin at the top of the list of ragtime performers and established ragtime as an important musical form. In the early 1900's, Joplin and his new wife, Belle, moved to St. Louis, Missouri. While living there, he composed some of his best-known works, including The Entertainer and Elite Syncopations.

Scott Joplin died April 1, 1917. He remains the best-known ragtime composer and performer. He also is regarded as one of the three most important composers of classic ragtime.


Watch a Video

Watch a performance of Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag for piano solo.



Print Related Resources for Scott Joplin

Beginner and Easy Piano Sheet Music

The Entertainer Easy Piano Sheet Music/Level 3
The Entertainer for Intermediate/Level 3 Piano Solo - Play and Learn™
The Entertainer Easy Piano Sheet Music/Level 5
The Entertainer for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo - Play and Learn™
Maple Leaf Rag Easy Piano Sheet Music/Level 3
Easy Winners Easy Piano Sheet Music/Level 3

Easy Guitar Sheet Music

The Entertainer Easy Guitar Sheet Music (TAB)
Maple Leaf Rag Easy Guitar Sheet Music (TAB)
The Entertainer Easy/Intermediate Guitar Sheet Music (TAB)

Beginner and Easy Band/Orchestra Instrument Sheet Music

The Entertainer Easy Flute Sheet Music
The Entertainer Easy Clarinet Sheet Music
The Entertainer Easy Alto Saxophone Sheet Music
The Entertainer Easy Trumpet Sheet Music
The Entertainer Easy Trombone Solo Sheet Music
The Entertainer Easy Violin Sheet Music
The Entertainer Easy Viola Sheet Music
The Entertainer Easy Cello Sheet Music

Hey Kids, Meet the Composer Worksheets (Famous Composers)

Scott Joplin | Word Search Worksheet
Meet the Composer Job Application Worksheet
Scott Joplin | Coloring Page

Free Homeschool Music Lesson Plans

Scott Joplin | Famous Composer Homeschool Music Lesson Plans