Jim Riley, the touring drummer for country artists Rascal Flatts, wrote a book a few years back on the mysterious “Nashville Number System” for writing song charts. He explains an example of this in a short article over at Woodshed Percussion. I’ve used my own version of song charts for many years, but Riley’s explanation is compelling. I might need to switch over to this… but the jury is still out. Here’s the excerpt that really got me:

2 reasons why I stopped writing simpler “drummer cheat sheets”:
1) I wrote the chart and used it but the keyboard player and guitarist also used the same chart.
2) What else are my options? If I write a chart that says “play 8 bars” then what am I doing? Counting bars…BUT, if I read a number chart then instead of counting bars I’m listening to changes…listening for me is a better option.