They both mean to start with, but which one is normally used for what situation ?
Commencer par -- to begin by.... This is used when one starts with a certain action which is the first of a series of actions.
Commençons par ouvrir nos livres. -- Let's start by opening our books.
Then there is commencer à or commencer de. They mean the same and differ only in register, with commencer de belonging to a slightly higher register of language.
Il a commencé à chanter à l'âge de 7 ans.. -- He started singing at age seven.
Commencer avec is, according to the source below, incorrect.
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