if you're learning by sheet music and you would like to be able to play without it, one thing to try is to try each measure at a time. play a measure, look away, and then see if you can play it. it's not important that you get it right. actually, getting it wrong is very important. this may sound strange, but looking away and forgetting helps you realize that you dont know or what you dont know. so, look at it, play it once more, then look away again. if you keep doing this, you will get t hat first measure and look to the second. it may take a few days or more to learn just a simple tune that way, but that's just how it goes. after a few years it gets easier. just a few months ago, i memorized this tune http://www.thesessio.../170#sheetmusic including transposing it down to the key of Bb, as well as figuring how the heck to play in the key of Bb (not fun)--all in under three hours. a couple years ago, transposing it alone would have taken me several days, and a few years before that, tunes much simpler than that would take me a week or more to memorize.
i am sorry but i just dont think that the mnemonics will be very helpful in the long term. the further you get away from the music, the more work you are making for yourself. although it is ok to think about the fingers or the note names (everyone does it), the best thing to think about is the sound. even if you learn off sheet music, after playing it for a while you know how it sounds. if you think only about your fingers, you will trip yourself up; if you think about the sound, and try to let your fingers play the right notes*. you will make much quicker progress.
*noel hill taught me this. a more precise (indirect) quote would be that he said when he thinks about his fingers he gets tripped up. when he plays, he said he thinks about the sound of the music as he's playing, hearing each note in his head exactly as he plays it, including the "shape" of the note(s), the volume, and the length.
Some more....murdered songs
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