I have the experience that when I learn a piano piece, what really happens is that I memorize the key patterns of the song, instead of understanding on a harmonic basis what is happening (The common notion of "your fingers playing the piece by themselves"). The consequence of this, is that the performance of the piece can be altered critically depending on my emotional status, for example not feeling in control when performing, or not being able to restart from any random place.
Instead of pattern/shape memorization, I try writing out the harmonic analysis (what chord in which inversion am I playing, what mode, or what scale degrees are the target notes of the melody, etc) so that I also have full 'intellectual' control of the piece and I feel in control. But regardless of how much analysis I do, I find out I end up just memorizing patterns anyway.
Is there any standard way of avoiding this? Is this even feasible/recommended?
What method of "memorization" prevails on professional classical musicians?
My guess at an answer, to motivate 'intellectual' understanding of a piece, is to learn the piece in all keys. This enforces playing by understanding rather than muscle memory. For my level of playing this would require quite a bit of time, and at the end I am not sure if I would just end up memorizing 12 different muscle-patterns anyway.. (if I have memorized 12 different pieces, then it shouldnt be a problem to memorize the same piece in all keys..)
A second issue might be that my sight reading is poor, which leads to fast keyboard-shapes memorization and not much real reading. Maybe better reading skills would tackle the shape-memorization problem?