Hey everyone, forum newbie here!
I started playing mandolin last July. I went through a very brief and unsuccessful period of trying to learn guitar a few years ago, but apart from that no experience of playing an instrument. I'm enjoying the mando much more than guitar and it's definitely going better!
However, I feel that my lack of understanding of music theory and very much untrained ear are holding me back. I find that in terms of dexterity, I can generally pick stuff up pretty easily, but I have no real understanding. I started off learning from a book, and doing all the proper exercises, scales etc. But then pretty much as soon as I could I kind of stopped doing that because I felt I wasn't getting anywhere, and just started learning to play songs from tab. It doesn't help that I seem to have a really bad memory for chords and notes. I just about know the major notes on the fretboard and major two-finger chords, that's pretty much it.
Question is: Can any of you think of any ways I can start to help myself memorise more and increase my general understanding of how music works? I also really want to improve my ear, as I'd love to get to the point where I can go and join in on sessions.
I'm not sure if this is all way too vague but any help would be much appreciated!