"I really didn't like it too much," said Bobea, now a junior at North Bergen High School. "I had trouble with the breathing. My breath support wasn't great. I really had a tough time."
Bobea could have become frustrated and put the flute down for good.
"But I've never been one to simply drop something and leave," Bobea said. "I had to stick with it."
Bobea more than stuck with playing the flute. She began to excel at it. So much so that by the time she entered North Bergen High School three years ago, she was fairly accomplished.
"After my freshman year, I felt I was getting better at it," Bobea said. "But I never thought what would eventually happen. I never saw it coming."
Bobea's rise to music stardom began last June at the New Jersey Teen Arts competition. The first round of the competition was the regionals held at New Jersey City University, and Bobea wowed the judges with her performance, winning the individual music competition.
"I really didn't think I did that great," Bobea said.
Quite the contrary.
"One of the judges stopped in her tracks after hearing Jessica play," said Dr. Myron Leshowitz, the district music supervisor for the North Bergen school system. "The judge asked Jessica if she would be interested in performing in a concert with professional musicians."
Bobea went on to participate in the statewide Teen Arts competition at the College of New Jersey in Ewing, when she scored a perfect score of 25 out of 25.
The fine performances over the summer gave Bobea a lot of confidence in her ability. So when the time came to audition for the North Jersey Region 1 Concert Band, a compilation of the best 150 musical performers in the entire state, Bobea felt that she had a chance to make it.
"I auditioned last year and I didn't make it," Bobea said. "So I didn't know if I would make it this year."
Leshowitz said that eight North Bergen students went to the auditions in Paramus. Only one was selected to play - namely Bobea.
"It was amazing," Bobea said. "I was really thrilled."
Bobea played with the rest of the concert band last Sunday at the concert at Clifton High School, performing with the best high school musicians in the state.
"It was really great to be on the stage with so many talented kids," Bobea said. "I really can't explain it. I can't wait to hear a recording of it, because then I can truly appreciate it."
Bobea had a distinction of being in the select concert band. She was the lone musician selected from Hudson County.
"I would have to say she's one of our all-time best," Leshowitz said. "She's really sensational. She has a good understanding of music and knows the educational value of music. She's also a lot of fun to work with. She's just a great kid. That's perhaps her best attribute. I just think she is a great kid with a great future."
It doesn't stop there for Bobea. She will perform with the Garden State Concert Band, the group of professional musicians including the judge who spotted Bobea almost a year ago, at her first professional concert in Bloomfield on March 6.
"That's like 'Woooooh,' and 'Oh, my God' stuff," Bobea said. "I'm kind of nervous about playing in that concert, but I also can't wait until it happens. I've never experienced anything like that before. I'm sure that will be great as well."
Bobea said that she definitely concentrates on playing classical music.
"I'm just not a jazzer," she laughed.
Bobea is also a part of the North Bergen High School marching band, holding two roles with the band. Not only does she play the flute, but she is also a drum major.
"I'm either on the field or on the podium," Bobea said. "I have a lot to do."
When she's not playing the flute, Bobea also practices the piano, which she's played even longer than the flute.
While music is a major part of her life, Bobea is not sure whether she wants to pursue a music major in college.
"I've definitely thought about it," Bobea said. "But it's not a priority. I want to get the best education I can find. No matter what I do, music will always be a part of me."
Leshowitz has higher goals.
"I would really love to see her become a music teacher," Leshowitz said. "She has all the attributes to make a fine teacher. She has that ability now to teach and help others. I just hope she becomes a music major."
Leshowitz had nice praise about his prized pupil.
"She's a tremendous reflection of all of us, the school, the music program, the community," Leshowitz said. "She's representing a lot of people and handling herself quite well. She has some great items to put on her college resumes. She'll have some great choices next year."
Needless to say, Bobea is happy that she didn't put down the flute and walk away eight years ago.
"If I decided to drop the flute and walk away, I wouldn't be the same person right now," Bobea said. "I'd be totally different and I like the way I am."