When to start:
Usually there is no great advantage to be gained in starting before Year 3.
Virtually none. Use of a power adaptor, normally supplied with the instrument is the best option. Otherwise replacement batteries can prove costly. Sometimes power adaptors can develop faults, usually through misuse, with replacements costing just a few pounds.
Not available from Gloucestershire Music. Buy: Buying a keyboard is a much cheaper option than buying a piano at starter level. A perfectly adequate new home keyboard (such as the one illustrated) can be bought for less than £150. Because they tend not to keep their value as new models are introduced, relatively new second-hand bargains can be found. Most home keyboards now have full-size keys. Older ones with small keys should be avoided.
An electronic keyboard comes with an enticing array of preset sounds and rhythms of an increasingly good quality. For the beginner there is likely to be an earlier sense of musical achievement than with some instruments because the sound is already there at the touch of a key. The keyboard is well suited to ensemble playing and group lessons. It may be seen as a first step towards possible later piano lessons or as an instrument in its own right used in a range of musical genres.
Although keyboards usually come with a number of piano sounds, a home keyboard should not be seen as a substitute for a piano: the touch is not the same even with touch sensitive keyboards and, unless it is a more expensive digital piano, it will not have the full range of notes.