For the past 10 years I've had the privilege of teaching, among other things, first semester music theory. Each fall semester I greet a new group of first-year music majors to my classroom with the assumption that they have very little background in music theory and fundamentals. As a result, the bulk of the fall semester is spent teaching the fundamentals of music before proceeding into two voice counterpoint and the heart of the undergraduate theory curriculum.
However, there are a few theory skills that I find to be extremely useful for incoming students. Some of these are pretty basic, which is precisely why they are on this list.