Scott Joplin taught himself how to play piano while his mother cleaned houses--one of the houses she cleaned had a piano and he was allowed to play it. As Joplin grew older, he began travelling, and even played a cornet (an instrument similar to a trumpet) in a band at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.
Scott Joplin moved to St. Louis, which was rich with ragtime music at that time. He eventually moved to New York City. Joplin wrote some songs and stage works, but he is best known for his piano rags--one of which ended up in a movie! In 1976, many years after his death, Joplin was awards a Pulitzer Prize for his opera, Treemonisha.
One of the most exciting this about this composer is I learned a lot, too. All of the information above I learned from reading on the Classics for Kids website. Head on over and hear some of his music, read more about him and you can even take a quiz about what you've learned. The listening example includes many different composers this month, all of whose music (the piece featured) ended up in a movie!
Below is a link to a performance of Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer." I bet that you will think it sounds familiar. I remember having to learn this for flute lessons when I was in elementary school--it was difficult!!! Enjoy!