The Eduqas GCSE music Study Pieces have changed, with first examination in 2022. The Area of Study 4 focus piece is Africa by Toto, replacing Since You Been Gone, recorded by Rainbow. Africa is one of the most popular songs in the rock canon, yet beneath its pop surface lies an incredible musical arrangement, worthy of deeper investigation.

This webinar is designed to provide teachers with the skills and understanding to teach this song confidently and accurately, with a focus on aspects that are likely to be tested in an exam. Instead of a dry bar-by-bar analysis, the webinar will consider different elements of the song in turn, examining how they combine to create one of the most iconic songs in all music.


  • Gain a thorough and detailed understanding of this popular song without having to spend hours analysing it yourself
  • Explore the music in terms of the use of musical elements, as appropriate to the sorts of questions found in the Eduqas GCSE music exam
WEBINAR DATE Online | Tuesday 06 July 2021 – 4.00pm
Online | Tuesday 09 November 2021 – 4.00pm
  • Teachers of GCSE Music
  • Heads of Music Departments
  • Line managers of GCSE music
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance


4.00 – 4.05 pm Welcome and Introduction

4.05 – 4.15pm: Context and overview

  • Putting the song into context of late 1970s and early 1980s music
  • Looking at Africa’s structure in comparison to other songs of the era
  • Notes about the song’s unusual origins and production
  • Is Africa rock or pop?

4.15 – 4.40pm: Harmony and Tonality                                 

  • Addressing the question of the song’s keys, and potential solutions
  • How the tonality defines the structure of Africa
  • When is a riff not a riff? Unpicking terminology
  • The use of pentatonic scales
  • Help students gain higher marks by understanding the extended harmony, more complex chords, and Toto’s subtle voicings

4.40 – 4.50pm: Rhythm                                 

  • An in-depth look at the fascinating mix of rhythms in Africa
  • Including: syncopation, on-beat rhythms, polyrhythms, cross-rhythms

4.50 – 5.00pm: The Role of the Rhythm Section                                                                

  • How the percussion ostinato is used, with live drum kit
  • The keyboard parts, hidden deep within the texture
  • The unusual role of the various guitars used in Africa

5.00 – 5.10pm: The Vocals

  • The structure of the lead vocal line
  • Help students gain higher marks by understanding subtle differences between repeated sections
  • How the backing vocals are layered, up to a five-part texture

5.10 – 5.30pm: Questions

  • The sort of questions that might be asked in an exam
  • Q&A

Patrick Johns

Patrick Johns began his career editing for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, before moving to BBC Radio 3 to produce Jazz programmes. Since 2007, he has combined music Radio and TV production (Radio 2, Scala, BBC 4) with a performing career as a Jazz/Pop/Ska trombonist, and classroom teaching in a variety of schools, from selective grammar schools and private colleges to Pupil Referral Units. Patrick is a prolific arranger, transcriber, and has written many resources to complement GCSE courses, as well as proof-reading the official Illuminate text book. Patrick is an Ofqual subject expert, a former Eduqas A Level examiner, and educational consultant. He also presents the popular music education podcast Teaching Notes. To find out more about him, please visit his website: www.patrickjohns.co.uk