In 1945, the renowned cellist and music educator Oton Bajde (1906–1933) established the State Primary and Secondary Music School, the predecessor of today's conservatory, in the parish of the Protestant Church in Maribor. He founded a chamber ensemble and a choir. In 1962, the school moved to its current location and changed its name to the Centre for Music Education, which was the first establishment of this kind in Yugoslavia.
In that period, in 1977, choreographer and then-Head of Ballet of the Slovene National Theatre Maribor Iko Otrin (1931–2011) founded the Ballet Elementary School, which became part of the Centre for Music Education. After some organisational changes, however, this school institution was soon renamed the Institute for Music and Ballet Education. In 1981, it became the Secondary School of Music and Ballet. Eventually, in 2010, it became the Maribor Conservatory of Music and Ballet.
The Conservatory, with its many branches in Maribor-Tabor, Šentilj, Lenart, Rače, Cerkvenjak-Vitomarci, Ruše, Selnica ob Dravi and Lovrenc na Pohorju, is divided into three parts: the Art Grammar School, the Music School and the Ballet School.
The Art Grammar School offers secondary grammar school education. The syllabus includes general and professional subjects. The number of lessons in general subjects decreases from the second year on, whereas at the same time the number of music/dance-related subjects and the number of lessons at these subjects increases. There are three main modules to choose from: composition, voice training or instrument and dance (ballet). The school offers various ranges of different school ensembles and practices such big band, string orchestra, accordion orchestra, guitar orchestra, symphony orchestra, brass band and choir.
Preschool children, primary school children, students and adults can enrol in the Music School in order to develop their musical talent and performance skills as soloists or members of various ensembles and orchestras, for example, in the string orchestra, brass band and guitar orchestra. The Music School also has a Jazz and Popular Music Department.
The Ballet School is designed as a preparatory ballet and contemporary dance school, which lasts for 3 years and takes place on 2 levels: basic and more advanced, intended for students who wish to continue with their dance studies at the secondary level.
The conservatory encourages its music students and ballet dancers to participate in national and international competitions. Many of its teachers and students have received many awards and prizes at home and abroad, as well as the Prešeren Award for the highest achievements in culture in Slovenia.