November Monthly Composer Unit: Scott Joplin

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These Composer Studies have been a huge hit with you all!! I am so glad you’re enjoying them! If you ever think of anyone you would like to see, please feel free to Contact Us and let us know.

In this months composer music study, you can learn all about the "King of Ragtime," Scott Joplin. He packed in some amazing music in his short life. Download and learn more! ::

Even if you’ve never heard of Scott Joplin, you have probably heard one of his pieces. Two of his most famous pieces – The Entertainer and Maple Leaf Rag – are some of the most played ragtime pieces in history. They are heard in cartoons and movies throughout the last century, as well as most piano recitals. The Entertainer is usually found in most piano books in a simpler format early on and then later the full version is learned. I remember learning it early and still to this day know how to play it. It’s a fun, catchy piece that just sorta sticks with you. Read more about Scott Joplin in this month’s composer study!

Included in this pack:

  • Poster Page
  • Bio Pages
  • Word Search
  • Coloring Pages
  • Copywork (early manuscript, manuscript and cursive)
  • Notebooking Pages
  • Timeline worksheet

If you want more notebooking pages, don’t miss the ones I made last year. They will work perfectly to study any composer as you go through the month of November. I’ve also gathered some great resources you can use while you’re studying Scott Joplin next month.

Check out these FULL of recorded works by Joplin. It takes a few clicks to get to the actual songs, but keep going – it’s worth it!!

This YouTube recording includes 90 minutes 0f a variety of the BEST of Scott Joplin. This would be great to play softly while you’re reading about him or doing other work, as a fun and easy way to introduce it to the kids.


NOTE: I did not find any books that were specifically for kids, so please read through these first and make sure they are appropriate for your own children.


Dancing to a Black Man’s Tune: A Life of Scott Joplin – By using Scott Joplin’s life as a window onto American social and cultural development at the turn of the century, this biography dramatizes the role of one brilliant African American musician in defining the culture of a still-young nation.


Scott Joplin (DVD) – Scott Joplin’s ragtime piano roll music swept the world at the turn of the century. Spread by the St. Louis World’s Fair, it was played on all the pianos of the land, danced to by rich and poor alike. This film biography of the originator of the ragtime rhythm traces the sources of black music in the New Orleans and Mississippi River life and sets the background from which Scott Joplin emerged.


Scott Joplin and the Age of Ragtime – At the turn of the twentieth century, Scott Joplin struggled on the margins of society to play a pivotal role in the creation of ragtime music. His brief life and tragic death encompassed a tumultuous time of changes in modern music, culture, and technology. This biography follows Joplin’s life from the brothels and bars of St. Louis to the music mills of Tin Pan Alley as he introduced a syncopated, lively style to classical piano.


Scott Joplin: The King of Ragtime – When we hear Ragtime, we instantly think of the King of Ragtime, Scott Joplin. Who was Scott Joplin? What drove him to create this type of music?
The son of a former slave and freeborn woman, Joplin rose above his humble beginnings and created some of the best ragtime compositions the world has known. Find out more about the man and his music in this Men of History series Scott Joplin: The King of Ragtime.


King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era – Berlin paints a vivid picture of the ragtime years, placing Scott Joplin’s story in its historical context. The composer emerges as a representative of the first post-Civil War generation of African Americans, of the men and women who found in the world of entertainment a way out of poverty and lowly social status. King of Ragtime recreates the excitement of these pioneers, who dreamed of greatness as they sought to expand the limits society placed upon their race.


Raggin’: A Story about Scott Joplin – The life story of the black Texan who became a popular composer and sought to elevate ragtime to the level of classical music, only to have his talents fully recognized after his death.


Masters of Music: The Life and Times of Scott Joplin – As a member of the first generation of African Americans who were born just after the end of slavery, Scott Joplin faced a world of unique challenges. His musical family scraped out a living by sharecropping and cleaning houses—but Scott was exceptionally gifted, and his mother made sure he got piano lessons. Classically trained, he spent several years playing in churches and saloons. While for a time he wanted to compose classical music, he was drawn to ragtime, an early form of jazz that featured African folk tunes and syncopated rhythms. After his first composition, “Maple Leaf Rag,” was published in 1899, Scott Joplin was able to keep ragtime popular for the next two decades. In fact, ragtime influences can be heard in later forms of music, such as jazz, blues, and even rock and roll. Scott Joplin, the Father of Ragtime, whose compositions cut across geography, race, and class, was truly a Master of Music.


American Jazz: Scott Joplin – This attractive, well-researched series is written in sophisticated language, with the more difficult vocabulary and musical terms defined within the text. Information about the subjects’ childhoods and preparation for their musical careers is included, as are the positive and negative aspects of their adult lives. Their contributions to the world of jazz are thoroughly explored. Sidebars in every volume expand the main texts, and quotes from other biographers add authenticity. Well-captioned color and black-and-white photos are cleanly reproduced, and the layout of text, photos, captions, and sidebars is bright and pleasing. (Recommended for grades 6-9)


Scott Joplin and the Ragtime Era – Scott Joplin and the Ragtime Era tells the story of this great composer and of his place in the history of American popular music. It explains the roots, form, and feeling of ragtime, its second-cousin relationship to jazz, its influence on the popular and classical music that followed it, and Tin Pan Alley’s influence on it. The book paints a vivid picture of Joplin and his times, of St Louis saloons and New York music publishing houses, of the cakewalk and the concert hall, and of the frustrated composer’s efforts on behalf of his ill-fated ragtime opera Treemonisha. Peter Gammond has written a biography, popular history, and musical source book all in one–an essential introduction to an essential era in American popular culture.

**NOTE: I recommend parents screen books & DVDs before allowing their children to view them. You know your children and what is appropriate for you kids, these are merely suggestions.


SQUILT is another fantastic way to introduce kids to music and help them fall in love with the classics. The volume covers Liszt and several others, which you can learn more about in the Modern Era: Volume 4.

Are you ready to get started? Download the monthly composer printable pack below.

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