One of the difficulties when writing music (or any kind of creative activity) is to get some distance from it (seeing the forest instead of the trees). This can be difficult because you (the composer) are intimately wrapped up with the piece. You know its inner workings (and desires, but I digress…).
Here are a couple things I do:
1. I will shut my eyes and listen to the computer playback. I find if I shut my eyes I won’t look at the sheet music and the music will be more of a surprise (at least as much as it can be).
2. I will conduct and “hear” the music in my mind. I will often do this with a metronome to make sure the rhythms are the way I want them to be.
Here are a couple general questions I will ask myself: