Chang Song Jie’s success would not have been possible without her teacher, Tan Chin Seng, an award-winning luthier who taught her the ins and outs of instrument making.
Creating a violin or viola is an intricate process. She begins by sketching what she envisions the instrument to look like.
Next, she chooses a suitable wood, such as maple or spruce.
In making a violin or viola, it is crucial to pay attention to detail and be absolutely precise with measurements.
According to Chang, a fair share of physical strength is required to carve the wood.
For this, she uses a gouge - a type of chisel with a concave blade.
Chang carefully cuts a channel for the narrow curved decorative edges known as the purfling. This features on both the front and back plates of the instrument, and it's vital she gets it right so it looks elegant.
Patience is truly a virtue, and Chang is meticulous in ensuring the quality of her work.
In carving the scroll, located at the top of the instrument, she uses different gouge sizes to get that beautiful, curved shape.
She subsequently coats the viola with varnish.
One of Chang's strengths is the ability to remain focused through the entire process, no matter how challenging it gets.
After affixing them to the viola, Chang proceeds to tune the strings.
To ensure precision, she uses an instrument tuner application.
After tuning, she checks that the bridge is in its proper place so the instrument will produce a beautiful sound.
After finishing her violin or viola, she will show it to Tan for his feedback.
Laksa, an exquisite viola, is truly Chang’s labour of love.
For her passion, patience and perseverance, Chang's win is truly well-deserved.