The Pencil Project is an electroacoustic performance inspired by the art of writing and the rich fiction it evokes. Developed by Martin Messier and Jacques Poulin-Denis, the project is a work for musicians playing rudimentary desktop items, such as pencils, scissors, elastic bands, rulers and staplers. From a pencil’s scratchy whispers on a page to the violent textures of shredded paper, an elaborate sound score is created. Writing, scribbling and doodling are transformed into music, as if the thoughts behind the words were revealed to the ear.

In 2010, Montreal’s Youtheatre adapted the project for young audiences. Staged by Michel Lefebvre, two young students must write a spelling test that takes them on an unexpected musical journey. The Pencil Project was performed over 60 times and seen by more than 14,000 children throughout Canada. Given the way the project helps children aged from 6 to 12 discover sonic art, it was nominated for production of the year at the Young Audiences Music Awards in 2013.