About Mikes Music

Something About Our History

Locally Owned and Operated for Over 20 Years
Specials Rentals Lessons Events Repairs Products FAQ Brands About Contact
MikesMusic > About  Facebook | Site Map | Prev ¦ Next


History of Mike's

How it all began

Customers often ask our staff about the history of the store. Mike’s Music began when Mike, then a local Anchorage School District orchestra student, decided to start renting and selling new and used musical instruments to help fund his own musical endeavors.

In 1993 Mike Dunckle, having acquired his first violin, began to dream about what the world of music had in store for him. A veteran Birchwood Elementary School orchestra member of about 3 months, he felt he needed an instrument worthy of the musician he hoped to become. After all, it is easier to learn to play on a good quality, well set up instrument.

He shared his dream with his parents. He informed them that he wanted a new professional quality instrument (expected to cost in excess of $10,000). His mother was stunned speechless (which was unusual for her). When she regained her ability to speak, she responded with the usual "we'll see." After all, what parent is willing to commit to that kind of request after a few months of playing? It became apparent, later in the school year, that Mike did possess some talent for violin and he was still insisting on an expensive instrument.

As you can probably imagine, Mike’s parents were unenthused at the idea of investing such a large sum of money in an instrument for a student who had barely reached 12 years of age. Instead they advised, as many parents do, that Mike should get a job and earn his own money.

This is usually enough to deter a child who is not serious about acquiring an item. The parents also felt that if Mike was willing to put in years of snow shoveling, lawn mowing, etc., he would certainly deserve and take good care of an expensive violin.

Mike’s idea of ‘earning your own money’ was significantly different. Enter now, Mike, with a whole different concept of work. Mike wanted to work in an area that interested him, something along the lines of music. He knew he didn't have the ability yet to command large sums of money for his performances.

His mother made an off hand comment about how students need instruments to play in the school program. Most students rent instruments until the parents can afford to buy or until the parents are fairly sure the student will continue in music. Mike figured, "AHA!!, I can open a store and rent instruments to other students."

He presented this idea to his parents, who realized (after the initial shock) it was a great idea. They felt it would be a good investment of his savings and would be willing to help him get started with some additional funds for instrument purchase. That summer, they purchased used instruments and (with the help of his violin teacher, Philip Burch) learned the basics of setting up instruments, instrument care, and found suppliers for parts.

Mike worked the business out of their home over the school year. By summer, it was evident that there was a need for a local music store and that the concept was worth pursuing. The family decided it was feasible to open a store for the fall season. If it worked out, then it would become a full time retail store. Mike's dad was willing to help him out at the store.

Mike’s mom arranged for a temporary store front rental while researching the best way to include band instruments in their rental fleet. They approached The Music Man of Anchorage, another family business. They were open to Mike's entrepreneurial spirit and worked out an agreement to provide Mike's customers with quality band instruments. This arrangement proved to be very successful for several years for both stores.

That fall and through Christmas, Eagle River customers responded so well to having a local music store that Mike was able to commit to a long term business. After the first year at the Eagle River location, Mike ordered his hand made violin from local maker John Osnes. Mike signed the check and received his violin in September of 1997.

The store has continued to expand product lines and has moved twice since the original location. When the store moved locations in 2004, Mike took on several new product lines and was able to secure dealerships that allowed him to offer his own band instruments. In 2008, growth spurred Mike’s Music to move again to their current location on the Old Glenn Highway just a short distance from their original location.

Mike’s Music is Alaska’s fastest growing full line music store, and has served tens of thousands of customers from all over the state. Mike’s Music continues to support and encourage music programs for students of all ages.


Meet our Staff

Jon McAlpin, Sales Staff Jon brings his love of music and a desire to help customers to Mike's Music. He plays guitar and is working on learning other instruments. Jon looks forward to helping customers find the right instrument or accessory to fit their needs and pocketbook.

Joleen Miller, Sales Staff With her customer service and sales experience, Joleen brings many unique talents to our store. Eager to help customers find the right item for their needs, Joleen can help you!

Ken Churchill, Repair Staff A master craftsman in finish carpentry, Ken has recently turned his talents into non fretted and fretted instrument repair. Upon completion of guitar repair school, Ken started spring of 2015 with Mike's. He enjoys doing everything from basic setups to more complex finish repairs.

Sharon Dunckle (aka Mike's Mom). Currently handling the back office, Sharon has been with the store since Mike first started it. She comes out of hiding as needed and during the busy back to school season.

Current Specials


Closed Mondays


Summer hours are now in effect: Closed Sunday & Monday, OPEN Tues-Thurs 11-7, Fri 11-6 and Saturday 12-5.
Time for us to get ready for Fall back to school and have a little summer fun!

Lots of new stuff is arriving all summer, so stop in and see what's new!
Looking for the next size in an orchestra instrument? Summer is a great time to size up. It gives your student more time to get familiar with finger spacing differences AND you are getting a better value from any rental credit from your current rental.

Need a new bow? or case?
Summer is a good time to practice with a new bow so you are ready for school in the fall.


Summer opportunity!


Alaska String Camps (www.alaskastringcamps.org) offers three separate camps for students completing grades 4-12. If you haven't been, go check out their website and sign up!
If you have attended before, but forgot to register this year, time to 'get on it' and just do it!

Super secret, but soon to be announced... we hope to add another instrument dealership to our current variety.
You'll find it right here and on our facebook page once our details are finalized. Follow us on facebook.com/mikesmusicak

Upcoming Events


Used Instrument Donations

Help us Help Local Music Programs

SUPPORT MUSIC IN OUR SCHOOLS! Mike’s Music instrument drive. The community donates used instruments, Mike’s refurbishes them, and gives to local schools.

What started as an anniversary celebration has become an ongoing community project for Mike’s Music. Mike's is giving back to the community that has supported them for over 20 years. Throughout the year, they collect used instruments to donate to the local schools for students who cannot afford to rent or purchase one.
Instruments in all conditions are welcome and Mike’s Music insures they are in playable condition before giving to the local schools in the Anchorage School District for use in their music programs.
Valuable/vintage and those instruments that are not usuable in the schools are sold after refurbishing, and the 'profit' is used to purchase instruments and/or supplies that the schools CAN use.

“We have students come in to purchase supplies for instruments they borrow from the schools; I have had so many of them tell me about the awful condition of the few instruments that are available. So, I thought, we can do something about that.” –Katrina Eldred
If you would like more information about this program, please call (694-6453), stop in and see us, or email at mmusic@mikesmusicak.com



We are celebrating Marsha's Return

Marsha Frederick is back and our band repair dept is back at full strength again. Need a regulation? How about some pads replaced? Nasty trumpet cleaned?
Summer's the time to get all those instruments back in shape for fall. Free quick estimates on all band and orchestra instruments through July 31st.

All text and graphics © 2000-2017 Mikes Music,Eagle River, AK - All Rights Reserved
This page was last updated: Friday, 30-May-2014 10:55:46 PDT