Just installed Ubuntu Studio 14.04, downloaded VLC from the software center, and everything seemed fine. Then I tried to watch a tutorial video and open Ardour. For some reason, opening Ardour kills the sound to everything else. No media player will work with Ardour running. If I reboot, everything works fine… until I open Ardour again. I’m a total noob to Ubuntu and this is discouraging. Any ideas?
There is really no way to answer your question given the almost complete lack of information about versions.
If you use JACK, or Ardour with its direct ALSA audio support, then the audio device you choose to use is owned exclusively by JACK or Ardour. Other applications cannot use it directly. If you are using JACK, they can of course use it via JACK, but most desktop audio applications do not support JACK directly. The JACK FAQ describes some ways to route many different things via JACK, but the presence of PulseAudio on most modern Linux systems can make this more complex. Ubuntu Studio was intended to make all those problems go away, but there are many, many reports from people that suggest that it does not.
Use a Linux distribution that better serves music creation/pro-audio requirements, and/or learn more about routing audio on a Linux system with JACK installed.