AUSTIN, TX (CNN) -- Many of you have probably heard the saying, "love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life." A Texas piano teacher says that's been her reality for 81 years and counting.
With ease and grace, Ruth Pignotti plays through Bach's chromatic fantasy and fugue. She's played the piano for nearly nine decades, and she's not stopping any time soon.
This week she turns 93 years old. She's been teaching lessons for more than 81 years. She said, "I'm not stopping. No, I'm not stopping."
It's all she's known since she was 12, teaching through the depression and World War II. She said, "This is gonna feel, at the beginning, like a cowboy story. It's set in San Antonio, Texas, at the Staffle Feed and Grain Company."
That's where she met her teacher, a Russian pianist. She said, "By the time I was about 12 years old I was probably playing at a collegiate level and so she said 'You can be my assistant teacher.' And here I was, I was 12 years old. That was 81 years ago."
In college she majored in piano and bassoon, and then began the job hunt. She taught at the University of Arkansas, Baylor, and the University of Texas. She said, "That's where I met my husband who was a violinist."
Pignotti uses music in every aspect of her life; she even started Austin Angel Fish, a synchronized swimming team. She said, "Synchronized swimming is a wonderful way of bringing your music to your physical sport. It's a fantastic thing to do!"
Students of all ages visit the Pignotti music studio inside her northwest Austin home for weekly lessons, where they learn more than just how to play.
Even as she approaches another birthday, "retirement" isn't part of her vocabulary. She said, "If I stop playing the piano, what would I do? It's like being on a merry-go-round. I can't get off!"