Trying to learn to read sheet music on my own; the best way to phrase my question is with a quick example: "Canon in D Major". I look at the sheet and I see the scale from this:
I get the whole EGBDF and FACE thing (and the separate ones for the bass clef), and that the sharps show me which notes are sharp in order to fit into D major, W-W-H-W-W-W-H - I get all that. Looking down at the piano I can see that this means the 3rd (F) and the 7th (C) are sharp/black keys. Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure I have all that straight.
Now when I look at the actual notes:
What is the best way to "look at this and easily tell what these notes are"? I am used to guitar where its easiest (for me at least) to think about notes in terms of their relationship on the scale (I look at the fretboard and I "see" major scale positions 1,3,5, etc. when I look at where my fingers go). When I try this with sheet music and going "this note is a 6th", I find it very slow going to try to remember anything and I'm counting note positions up and down and lose my place constantly, etc.
Should I instead be "seeing" the lettered notes when I look at the above? Do you look at that first note and go "oh, just below the bottom line, that's a D (just from memory/familiarity/practice) and in this scale its not sharp, and of course I remember that D is the key between the set of two black ones on the piano" ... or what?
I'm trying to figure out what I need to memorize and practice to get good at this.