I love Dixieland and listening to dixie clarinettists. I cannot play by ear so I gave up trying to play it. If I had a goal, it would be to play in a dixie band. Any suggestions???
Dixieland is not an unreachable goal for you. Probably, you need to start with a very simple goal, and that is to learn how to play simple tunes by ear.
A common one to start with in the Dixieland jazz vein is When the Saints Go Marching in. Do not try to play it too fast. Concentrate on getting the tune in your ears, mind, fingers, and soul. Once you feel good about the basic tune, start playing around with the rhythms of the tune.
Then, you can fool around with pitches. Just remember keeping a good structure of the melody is very important.
For a real brain teaser, try to play When the Saints Go Marching In in all keys. If this is too daunting, try Joy to the World by ear. "Joy" is simply only a descending major scale with the "Joy" rhythms. If you can play Joy to the World in every key, you can learn other tunes this way.
Honestly, I'm not a jazzer, but I do know the basic techniques to become better at it. Make sure you listen to Dixieland jazz. You will pick up the musical style by doing this.
Also, consistent practice is important. If you really want to play Dixieland, practice working on it every single day.
Best of luck to you and let me know how it works out for you.